Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

We're headed out on the town! Hope you ring in the New Year with some fun!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The hat that almost wasn't

Turns out, our foster beagle likes yarn. I learned this the hard way. If I were a better blogger (or a more patient person) I would have photographed the lesson of why not to leave knitting on the couch. However, when I walked into the room and saw the hat (still on the needles at least) on one side of the room and a ball of red yarn wrapped around two coffee tables and happily being chewed on by a beagle, it was all I could do to simply yell 'SAM, NO!' and try not to deafen my mother (I was on the phone with her when I walked in). It seems Sam thought the ball of yarn on the couch was a toy and jumped up to get it. I'm not sure how long he had it before I walked in, but it was either only a minute or two, or I just have really good luck, because the hat was still securely on the needles and the yarn, though no longer nice and tight in a center pull ball, was not knotted or tangled! How this happened, I will never know, but I was able to simply take the mess upstairs, grab the free end of the yarn and rewind it on the ball winder. The only real 'damage' was some extra dog hair embedded in the yarn (and ultra alpaca is hairy anyway, so who can tell dog from alpaca and wool fiber!)

So the hat isn't technically finished - I'm putting a knit lining, but I need someone with a big head to try it on to figure out where to stop the lining. (Damien self professes to have a 'bigger than average' head, so I don't want to end up with a lining that comes too low to where the bottom folds over on him) Hopefully either Jake's dad or David will do the trick. But the outside of the hat is all done and I love it. It's the Jacques Cousteau Hat.

I love the way the crown decreases! I would definitely make this hat again, though perhaps going up to a worsted yarn so it knit a little faster, though. This was my first time doing jogless color changes, and I think it looks pretty nice (though as Jake points out, very NY Giants - which makes me consider doing another with the same yarn and sending to my friend Kim's husband who is a HUGE Giants fan.)

Monday, December 29, 2008


OK, finally, the recipe that yielded the best cheesecake I've ever made! And that is saying a lot, since I make an inordinately large number of cheesecakes. Jake's favorite desserts are cheesecake and pumpkin pie, so I make a lot of cheesecakes, pumpkin pies and the occasional pumpkin cheesecake.

My normal 'go to' recipe is a very old sour cream cheesecake from Bon Appetit. I have a photocopied version from my mom's print magazine, which is good because the recipe isn't online. It's from like a 1986 magazine, so I guess their recipe archives don't go that far back online. Problem with that recipe is that you have to bake it three times - once to crisp the crust (don't want to skip with this recipe, because you put nuts in the crust with the grahm crackers), one to bake the cake, and one to bake the sour cream topping. I was getting a late start as it was, and the timeline for that was just too long. I considered the Philly Cream Cheese recipe, but I only had 2 lbs of cream cheese and that recipe needs 2.5lbs. I was torn. I really wanted cheesecake but I was recipe-less. I checked out Alton Brown's recipe, he's one I trust to just go by recipe on, but his cooking was even longer than the Bon Appetit (really, Alton, 2 hours?!) and in my experience every cheesecake takes longer to bake than the recipe says anyway.

I have a huge collection of cookbooks, but no real motivation to flip through them all, so I pulled out my two favorites - How to Cook Everything and the Joy of Cooking. I struck out with Mark Bittman - his recipe needed 2.5lbs, too, but I found the gem in Joy of Cooking - it only needed 2 lbs of cream cheese and was from a trusted source, so off to the kitchen I went, making just a few modifications of my own.

Carly's Creamy Cheesecake
(The original is 'Creamy Water-Bath Cheesecake' on page 980 of the 1997 printing of Joy of Cooking)
2lbs cream cheese
1-1/3 c sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 t. pure lemon extract (really, don't use the imitation!!)
2-4 t. vanilla (2 if you are using pure extract purchased, closer to 4 if using homemade vanilla - recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325F, Fill a tea kettle with water and set to boil. (If you have time, set out eggs & cream cheese to come to room temperature, I didn't and it certainy didn't hurt the finished product!)

Make any cheesecake crust you like - shortbread or graham cracker (the Joy recipe makes this crustless). Press crust into the bottom of a 9" springform pan. I used a basic graham cracker crust with a little bit of sugar and nutmeg mixed in. I did not toast the crust.

In large bowl, beat 2lbs of cream cheese until smooth. I went about 90 seconds with the paddle set to 6 on my KitchenAid - obviously this will take longer with a hand mixer.

Add sugar and beat another 1-2 minutes until creamy and lightened.

Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing just until incorporated (I did this on speed 3 on the mixer) and scraping the bowl after each egg.

Add the balance of the ingredients and beat on low speed until fully mixed (again I did this on speed 3).

Spread the filling into the springform.

If you have a less-than tight springform, wrap the bottom and sides of the springform with aluminum foil. (My springform is nice and tight, so I skipped this.) Place the springform in a large roasting pan (or any pan at least as deep as the springform and sufficiently wide). Place roasting pan in the oven, then pour water from the kettle into the baking pan until it is 1/2 way up the side of the springform. BE CAREFUL when you push the oven rack back in so as not to splash water from the pan onto the top of the cheesecake!!

Bake until the edges of the cheesecake are set but center is still 'slightly' jiggly. I really hate that type of instruction, because how jiggly is 'slightly' jiggly?! In my case, I baked until only about a 2" ring in the center jiggled when shaken and the rest of the cake was set - about 1h20min. Turn off the oven, prop the oven door open (use a wooden spoon if your oven door doesn't have a partially open setting) and let the cake sit in the oven for another 30 minutes (the recipe says 1 hour, but I was tired and 30 minutes was the best I could do before needed to go to bed!) Remove from the waterbath and cool completely on a rack. When cool, cover tightly and refrigerate at least 6 hours before cutting and enjoying!

I promise you, this is the smoothest, creamiest cheesecake you'll ever have, while still having a nice density to it - I'm not a fan of the really fluffy cheesecakes, myself!

We made both a blueberry and a raspberry sauce to serve with the cheesecake, though the raspberry was the clear winner :)

Our easy sauce is in a 1.5qt saucepan, place a few tablespoons of sugar, 1c or so of frozen berries and ~1/4 c liquer (for the raspberry sauce we used Couintreau, for the blueberry we used black currant liqour). Bring to a boil and let cook at a rolling boil for ~10 minutes, let cool before refrigerating.

Sarah wanted to know about homemade vanilla extract, and it's pretty simple. We tried it once when we had two open bottles of vodka at the house. Simply use 1 vanilla bean per 200mL of vodka you are using (approximately 1/4 of a fifth of vodka). Split the bean(s), but don't scrape the insides and drop the beans into the bottle of vodka (I use FRIS). Store in a cool dark place until the vodka is brown - and there is your homemade vanilla! When I make it, it always ends up less concentrated than store bought (you can tell by the color) no matter how long I let it 'steep', so I just use a little more when I cook with it.

Sorry I don't have pretty step by step photos like over at the cooking blogs. . . I had no idea the recipe would be share-worthy (and even if I did, did I mention that I was very tired? never start a cheesecake at 9:30pm!) Let me know if you try it!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

1 down, Too Many to go

I am losing hope of completing everything OTN before year's end.

Truth be told, I wasn't that confident from the moment I declared I'd try, but with 4 days left, I'm pretty sure even if I knit continually I'd not finish. I did finish mom's second pair of socks, which is good since she leaves in the morning. They were my own twist on a basic rib, and I quite like them. They took just over a skein of the Louet I was using and I have a skein left, so I might make them again for me!
(more pictures on Rav here)
The picture is taken with my new camera (this one). I can't decide how I like it - I need to do some serious playing with it to decide if I want to return it in the 30 day window I get.

Since I gave up hope of wrapping things up, I cast on two new projects tonite! They both have deadlines for completion. One is a secret and will have to wait to be revealed, but the other is this nifty hat for our friend in Alaska. He is the one who crab fishes and sent us all this crab in June. He sent us some King Crab a few weeks ago, so I'm sending him a hat to help keep warm when he heads back out on the boat January 27. I'm using Ultra Alpaca Light and I'm going to add an inner liner knit with the same yarn. That would be two layers of alpaca/wool blend in sport weight, which was pretty much the warmest thing I could come up with. Hopefully he likes it. The only down side is small yarn and small needles is much slower going than a typical hat!

Unfortunately, the reason I had time to cast on two new projects today is because time wasn't spent sewing. I promised mom I'd make her curtains while she was here if she found fabric she liked. Nothing tricky - cafe curtains for her kitchen. As is usual, the sewing was easy, the cutting straight lines from my fabric took an ungodly amount of time! I finished two of four bottom panels and one of two valances before my bobbin needed refilling, at which point I proceeded to break the bobbin lift cam on my machine. It's fixable, but the place I know to order parts from is in Samoa, so it'll take a while to get to me. So mom is going home with curtains for one window and a promise for the curtains for the 2nd. She'd probably rather have had the promise of the 2nd sock instead, since she really hates her current curtains. I hope she'll send me a picture when she hangs them, because they turned out quite well, if I do say so myself!

Cheesecake and vanilla to come tomorrow after mom is safely at the airport!

Just stopping in to share cuteness. . . .

Still owe you some cheesecake (and vanilla!) recipes, but am busily trying to entertain mom and finish sewing her curtains. But in playing with my new camera on Christmas morning, I have some cute poochie pics that must be shared!

Zosia, who cannot WAIT to get her mouth on the new squeaky pheasant!

Sam, who wasted no time tearing into his toy (which matches his collar, coincidentally!)

Jimmy Ray hates the new camera as much as the old, so no photos of him :(

Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a wonderful and joyous Christmas!

My mom's 2nd socks did not get finished, so she got one in a stocking with a promise that the mate would be done before she left Virginia. I probably would have finished them if I hadn't had poor cheesecake baking scheduling skills which kept me up past my bedtime Tuesday. Totally worth it though, as it was possibly the best cheesecake I've ever made (and I'm a pretty good cheesecake maker, if I do say so myself!) I used homemade vanilla extract, to boot! I'll share the recipe after we open gifts! We just opened stockings and now Jake is making pancakes!

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Z is for Zosia

Yes, I got an easy out for a hard letter! My pooch Zosia will wrap up the year of the ABC Along! Even though I wasn't the best about keeping current, I really had fun doing this and I hope someone hosts it for 2009!

I let you take the picture, now let me go back to sleep!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Meet Sam!

We have a new addition to the house, temporarily. Not sure if I mentioned before that we were looking at getting into dog fostering, but we've been thinking about it for a while. Then we saw on the website of where we board our dogs (she runs a beagle rescue, too) a request for fosters over the Holidays. A lot of the dogs through her rescue stay at her home with the dogs she boards, which takes away from how many paid boarders she can have. So they were hoping to find holiday homes, and so we called yesterday and today brought home Sam!

He was a stray, so they don't know much about him. He's a little skinny, but otherwise healthy!

He's not housebroken, so that will be a bit tough to work on, but all 3 pooches are getting along for now. Sam has to get a bath tonite, we'll see if he still likes us after that!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More projects

(This post someone disappeared from my blog. . . . . so I'm reposting - thank goodnes for bloglines :)!)

At the gym last Wednesday night, Jake decided that a cowl to wear with his leather jacket. I had suggested it before and he said no, but I guess Wednesday was a particularly cold morning and changed his mind. I pulled out some color options from the (ever growing) malabrigo stash, he chose the Churra. I gave him two choices of cowls. He chose the Morningside pattern.

I cast on during lunch Thursday and a few hours later -
I absolutely adore the pattern. Super simple, super quick, super fantstic for showing off a neat yarn. It's sometimes so hard to find a pattern that doesn't compete with the yarn. I made no mods, beyond knitting an extra 1/2 inch or so before I bound off.

Jake really seems to enjoy it, too (except that it messes up his hair a bit in the back!). It's nice that he honestly WANTs the stuff I knit for him, not that he just 'lets' me do it to give me something to do! Looks pretty good, eh?
I finished a pair of socks for mom, too. After this post, I ended up finding someone destashing some worsted Louet Gems for a steal ($19 for 3 skeins shipped priority!) They aren't the most exciting things, but mom wants warm socks to wear with boots and these fit the bill! The pattern is Thuja, I just did it over fewer stitches to fit a ladies foot!
This leaves Wisp #1, Herringbone Socks, Jake's socks, Jake's sweater, sock pair #2 for mom, my lace scarf and my blue shrug as active projects and my goal is to wrap them up before the new year. I'm not counting goddess, because it's definitely hibernating for warmer weather! I only have 2 more work days until year end, that leaves plenty of time for knitting this all up, right?

Wasted Day

I was off work Monday - using up vacation. I ran some errands and planned to spend the rest of the day knitting socks for mom. I LOVED the Fargyle pattern when Knitty came out, so that's what I wanted to do. Boy, was I disappointed :( I haven't actually frogged it yet, because I'm just going to knit from it rather than reballing. Given mom arrives in just a few days, pair #2 will be a simple rib with a little cable thrown in for interest! The yarn is Worsted Loet Gems, and it is pretty FAB!

I have photos of a few other projects to share soon!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Natural Born Worrier

I'm quite convinced I lost 2 years off my life this evening. As I mentioned before, Jake went out fishing. . .at 10:30am, with 2 other guys. The person whose boat he went on is somewhat notoriously a) heavy drinker and b) not what you'd call the most skilled boater. Around 4:30, as it was getting dark I thought 'Gee, I hope they're almost back, I sure wouldn't want to be out after dark with him!' At 6pm, I get a text from Jake 'Lost at sea-ish'. Of course, I call to find out what is going on. Jake tells me they were lost, but they think they know where they are now and should be home in a while. I ask (only half jokingly) if I need to call the Coast Guard. At 8pm, still no one is home. I text Jake. No response. By 8:15 I decide that's plenty of time to text back, so I call. .. . phone goes to voicemail. I call fisherman #2 - phone goes to voice mail. I am now officially worried. I don't have the phone number of the boat owner, nor of anyone who would have the boat owners phone number.

I worry a little more.

I remember that one of my girlfriend's husband's would most likely have the number of someone who would have boat owners number, so I call her. Her hubby does have a mutual friend's number, which she gives me while worrying herself.

8:25, I ring Jake's phone one more time before calling the friend - still no answer.

I ring friend and ask 'Do you have boat owner's cell # and how worried should I be that it's been 2 hours since they were lost and no one is answering the phone?' Friend tries to assure me not to worry, that although boat owner is kind of an idiot, he has a crazy expensive boat with GPS on it and neither Jake nor fisher #2 are stupid so if something was going on, they could figure out how to get back even if boat owner couldn't - plus the water is calm. BUT, he adds, "Call me back if you don't hear anything by 9pm" as he gives me boat owners phone #.

I am now bordering on panic, since friend clearly thinks this is mildly worrysome, given that they've been out since the morning. I ring boat owners phone - no answer there either. I begin to figure out my next steps and go online to see how to contact the Coast Guard - knowing full well I do not know WHERE they went to fish, WHAT KIND of boat they are on or what frequency they keep the radio on.

At 8:35 as I am pacing the house, the phone rings and it is Jake - they just pulled into boat owners dock. He had no missed calls, so I guess on the canals snaking back to boat owners house the cell towers are spotty with coverage.

At 8:50, Jake is back home and I am convinced the elevated blood pressure from panicing has done damage to my life expectancy - and I don't know if I feel more like hugging him or hitting him! His response?

'Why were you so worried?'

Perhaps it is HIS life expectancy that will be shortening from this event. . . . . . .

168 pins and one hour

What do you get after 168 quilting pins and 2 hours? You get an almost complete wedding gift :)
I can't show the pictures yet, but I do have a shot up in Rav. It was a BEAR to pin out - and I understand why I lot of people comment that theirs is still bumpy after blocking because you have to YANK on it to smooth it out. After it dries, I think I'm going to hit it with some steam as well. I absolutely LOVE it though. It's a good thing it's going to a VERY good friend, or else I wouldn't be able to give it up!

I promised photos, but Jake headed out to go fishing today, so I couldn't get any good flat shots of his cowl, and mom's socks are still wet from blocking so they can't go outside to play.

The only photo I have to share is of the tree skirt. They are marginal photos, so I apologize. I'll be getting a new camera when mom gets here (my Birthday/Christmas gift) next week, so hopefully that will improve :)

I've also undertaken the task of working on my queue and figuring out what projects I have yarn in hand for. I'm hoping this will stop me from buying more once I see just how many projects I can start with what I've got. I'll share the plan for 2009 Stash knitting when I get through it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good News & Bad News

The Bad News? I felted a pair of my socks :( I forgot they are not superwash and I just threw them in with a load. They normally can go in the wash, but in a lingerie bag on the gentle cycle. The Good News? They were my least favorite pair, so I'm not all that heartbroken!

I finally got around to a bunch of blocking today after cleaning the bathroom. The Hemlock is still in there waiting on me to vacuum to make space to pin it out. Mom's socks & Jake's cowl are on the blocking pad.

The bulk of today was taken up with sewing, and MAN do I need some practice! Last year after Christmas I bought some fabric to make a tree skirt and never got around to it. Since we put up the tree, I figured it was now or never. The sewing is rather atrocious if you look close, but since it's made to lay on the floor and be a little bunched up anyway, you can't tell at all. Since I was on the machine, I did a few patches on pants for Jake and then hand sewed a few buttons. The stack of 'to mend' that has been sitting next to my machine for ages is all officially cleared up! Yay for me! Now I may need to make a few Christmas stockings with the leftover fabric from the tree skirt. In unpacking all the Christmas decorations, I have both dogs' stockings, but neither Jake nor mine's. I have no clue where they could be. I'm sure they'll turn up after I make new ones :)

Tomorrow is supposed to be somewhat sunny, so hopefully I can finally get around to posting a bunch of pictures!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On a roll. . . .

Guess who got a call about another job interview today? Oh yeah - ME! The bigger ego boost of it is that they don't want to interview me for the job I applied for - it's been put on hold - but they have two other jobs they want to talk to me about if I'm interested. Two jobs for which I'm HORRIBLY unqualified for by my own estimation, but if they want to talk to me about it, I'll take the interview practice! Jake is convinced the job I interviewed for on Tuesday is mine, and I'd love to follow in his optimism, but I'll work on a back up just in case!

Must Resist

The new Knitty is up. . . . and I am obsessed with Surface! I have some DK yarn in stash that I could use, but I really love how vintage the sweater looks in chocolate brown with the wood buttons, so I'm searching. Someone on Rav has enough Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK in cocoa, so I contacted her to see if she's willing to part with it. Option 2 is that Yarn & Fiber Company has Ultra Alpaca Lite on sale, but I'm not sure if the halo-ness of it would really work with the pattern. I can't bring myself to spend the $$ on the Berroco yarn it calls for.

And, realistically I need a new project OTN like I need a hole in my head, but I just don't think I can stave this one off for long! I'm almost done with one pair of socks for mom and I plan a 2nd (using some yummy worsted Louet from a destash on Rav). Pair #2 will be a slightly modified Fargyle. Then I will try to trudge through Jake's cardigan. I do have a lot of down time coming - our vacation is use it or lose it so after the 17th I'm only working 2 days. My goal will be to clear up WIPs before the new year, so I can cast on for Surface without guilt :)

Winter Knitty is just so tempting! I love so many of the patterns. . . I think this is the best issue in quite a while! What are your favorites?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


So, the interview went quite well today! Despite the fact that I had wardrobe confidence issues. (I've apparently lost a LOT of weight since I last wore a lot of my dress clothes and I went through multiple pairs of pants before I found ones that did not have the crotch land near my knees!) I ended up more under dressed than I would have liked, but I felt better when I got there and it was VERY casual. I ended up interviewing with 4 folks rather than the 3 I was told about, but I got tons of positive feedback. There were only two questions I was asked that I did not have direct experience with. Unfortunately, those were from the person I'd be directly reporting to. BUT, he mentioned he wasn't sure which of his responsibilities he wants to pass on to the new person and which he wants to be able to focus on more himself, so maybe he wants to keep proposal writing and it's OK I haven't done it :) Otherwise, my skills match amazingly well to what they are looking for, so I think I've got a good shot. Unfortunately, they don't plan to get to the 2nd round of interviews until after the holidays that first week in January, so I have to sit on pins and needles for a while. Continue to put good thoughts out there for me, though, OK? In learning more about the job, I'm REALLY excited about the possibility and think it will do wonders for my mental state while giving me an awesome job that is directly related to one of the things I'm most passionate about - encouraging continued science and engineering education!

I've been knitting, too, but no pictures. Hopefully later this week :) Hope you are having a great week, and busily knitting away for Christmas!!

More projects

At the gym last Wednesday night, Jake decided that a cowl to wear with his leather jacket. I had suggested it before and he said no, but I guess Wednesday was a particularly cold morning and changed his mind. I pulled out some color options from the (ever growing) malabrigo stash, he chose the Churra. I gave him two choices of cowls. He chose the Morningside pattern.

I cast on during lunch Thursday and a few hours later -
I absolutely adore the pattern. Super simple, super quick, super fantstic for showing off a neat yarn. It's sometimes so hard to find a pattern that doesn't compete with the yarn. I made no mods, beyond knitting an extra 1/2 inch or so before I bound off.

Jake really seems to enjoy it, too (except that it messes up his hair a bit in the back!). It's nice that he honestly WANTs the stuff I knit for him, not that he just 'lets' me do it to give me something to do! Looks pretty good, eh?
I finished a pair of socks for mom, too. After this post, I ended up finding someone destashing some worsted Louet Gems for a steal ($19 for 3 skeins shipped priority!) They aren't the most exciting things, but mom wants warm socks to wear with boots and these fit the bill! The pattern is Thuja, I just did it over fewer stitches to fit a ladies foot!
This leaves Wisp #1, Herringbone Socks, Jake's socks, Jake's sweater, sock pair #2 for mom, my lace scarf and my blue shrug as active projects and my goal is to wrap them up before the new year. I'm not counting goddess, because it's definitely hibernating for warmer weather! I only have 2 more work days until year end, that leaves plenty of time for knitting this all up, right?

Monday, December 8, 2008


I'm less than 24 hours from my interview! I don't feel like I've prepared enough. But I can't look through their website anymore! I did a trial 'drive by' to make sure I knew where to go, which was a good thing since Google gives you wrong directions. I feel like I anticipated a few questions they would have for me and have decent answers. But I still feel unprepared. I did choose my outfit, though (the important things, you know!). I'm not wearing a suit. I own two suits. One is boring black and outdated - and only has a skirt (it had pants at one point, but they seem to have disappeared). The other is a snappy patterned brown but the only top I have that goes with it well is a snakeskin print, which I think is a little too loud for an interview. So, I'm wearing my brown pinstripe pants with a green shirt and a brown & cream patterned jacket. Put together enough for an interview, I think, and certainly more 'me' than the black suit could ever be :) So hey, if I don't get the job, I'll at least have looked cute trying! I think I need to donate the black suit - I know I'm never going to wear it again!

So keep your fingers crossed for me :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

So many choices, so little time. .. .

I succumbed to Woolgirl's Black Friday Weekend Sale. I've been wanting to make something for Tricia's little girl and this Spunky Eclectic Sportweight in Sangria seemed perfect. . . and 3 skeins jumped into my cart. I don't know what they will become yet, though. A hooded cardigan, perhaps?

And to keep the Sangria company, some Three Irish Girls came along for the ride to Virginia.

Gorgeous, right?

Friday I got a belated Birthday present in the mail, 3 delicious skeins of worsted weight Misti Alpaca Handpaint.

So what does this all mean? 1st, it means I REALLY have more yarn than I can possibly knit up in a reasonable period of time so I should stop buying!! 2nd, it means I have an easy ABC-along! Y is for Yarn, of course!

And the title of most creative goes to. . .. .


Last night was the Yarn for Breakfast Christmas party. It was a particularly fun time, and part of the party was a gift exchange. We did a bit of a mixed up Pollyanna exchange, where people could steal gifts, but no one opened the gifts until the end - so you were stealing based on what you THOUGHT might be in the package. I started out with a package I knew had malabrigo in it (how could I resist!) but I didn't keep my mouth quiet about there being malabrigo in the package, so it in turn got stolen from me! BUT, the package I then got to keep ended up for sure, the most creative gift. The super prettily wrapped (but not photographed) package contained a box of cookies and a box of yarn. Cookies and yarn would be yummy enough, right, but she got CUSTOM DESIGNED COOKIES that MATCHED the yarn!

Like, matched exactly!
Yes, this photo contains only one cookie, but it's not because I ate the other two cookies, I shared them with the two other people who had the package before me! The yarn is Cascade 220 Quatro and is a gorgeous blue-green. I haven't opened the cookie to eat it yet, but Mari sampled one before she bought the cookies and assures me they are delicious.

Super cute, right?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Time for a Christmas Wish?

An excerpt from an email with my mother today discussing Christmas lists:

"Socks would be good too, heavier ones to wear with boots. Wool."

Now this was not expressly a 'please make me some socks', but it sure seems close. Heavier socks = quick knitting, no? But I have no superwash worsted weight yarn. But, I have a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK. . . .I'm debating if I have time to cast on and finish a pair. What do you think?

(And no comments from the peanut gallery that in the last week I've cast on and finished like 4 projects. . .as soon as I HAVE to do something it becomes much less likely I WILL do it.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another Meme

No knitting to share today. The Herringbone Socks I ripped back to the ribbing are back to where I ripped. They are looking much better having fixed the two mistakes, so I'm glad I ripped, but the pattern is kinda slow (row 2 is slow, row 1 is fast!) I'm trying to work up the wherewithal to pick Jake's sweater back up again. I'm still cranky about the whole collar situation, so I think I'll go knit the sleeves and come back to the collar to finish. I also ordered some yummy Jaeger yarn on eBay to make the February Lady Sweater and I won't start that until I finish Jake's sweater, so I gotta get going since that yarn will be here in a few days!

So in place of knitting, a meme taken from Zonda :)

Carly Simon :)

the Friday before Thanksgiving - when the sh*t hit the fan at work.

when I actually try and don't just scribble. Catholic school gives you nice handwriting!

Polish ham - which is very hard to find outside of Michigan. I've never been able to buy it since I've moved away, so I guess it's my favorite by memory!


Sure - everyone needs a catty girlfriend :)

Me? Never :)

nope - the only surgery I've ever had


Lucky Charms - but only the marshmallows. I don't eat the actual cereal portion. Of course, they are also like a once a year indulgence!

Always, if they have ties :) But mostly only my sneakers tie.

Physically or emotionally?

Mint Chocolate Chip



my legs

my maternal grandfather


leftover Thanksgiving dinner

Morning News

it's been a while since I've seen a crayon box. I think a lot of the colors in there when I was a kid have been retired. I always was partial to Midnight Blue, though.

Spicey things like cinnamon or pumpkin pie. I really like almond oil, too.

my coworker - the one who helps keep me sane!


light-ish brown

hazel with specs of yellow


A single favorite? Today my brain is saying mushroom risotto, but my list of favorites to choose from is easily hunderds!

Of the two, happy endings. . .. I am a baby about scary movies - but thrillers or dramas are more my thing.

Quantum of Solace




hmmm, can't pick just one - creme brulee, cheesecake and tiramisu (oh, and this jello thing my family makes that everyone else thinks is disgusting but I think it's the best thing since sliced bread - lime jello, pineapple, walnuts and you 'melt' cream cheese into the jello so it's a creamy foamy jello. . . SO GOOD!)

Hmm. .. I guess I haven't finished No Country for Old Men - I don't read that much!

no mouse pad - just a touch pad on the laptop

Jake play Wii, then House, then Family Guy re-runs.

crickets on a warm summer night

Gotta go with the Stones

Paris (France, not Texas)

Uh? I'm wicked flexible, that was a big hit in college (and NOT in a dirty way - get your mind out of the gutter!)


everyone's :)

Leave me a comment if you put it on your blog so I can check it out :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Monday

Why is it a happy Monday?


I can't tell you how much I didn't want to get back to work today, but my mood has done a total-180 after getting the phone call. The interview is for a job I actually WANT, too, not just a job I applied to for the sake of applying. Of course the chances of me getting the job are far from certain, but it's nice to have a possibility in the mix :) I have high hopes that if nothing else this breaks the logjam of no one responding to my resume. The power of positive thinking, right? :)

Hope you all have something Happy happen to you, too, today!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm on fire!

I am knitting up a storm. I feel very accomplished. . . lots of FOs recently :) And somehow laundry and dishes are still getting cleaned and dinner is being cooked. I wish it was always like this!

I finished two projects this weekend. First, my Woolgirl June Sock Club yarn became socks. Even though it's not a color I love, I liked knitting them up and the colorway did grow on me. They'll get a lot more 'in boots' wear than anything else. . . they were in shoes because I was going to a knitting group :) And, I have to say, with just a bit showing, they're not as overwhelming.
And, I adore my Frye shoes, so any excuse to wear them, you know :)

It's been unusually cold and so I decided I needed a better hat, too. My Dizzy barely covers the ears. I bought some Chunky Malabrigo almost a year ago to make a Clara hat for me, but never got around to it. Saturday night I wound up the yarn and Sunday morning I had a new hat. With all the yarn overs, I'm not sure how warm it'll be, but I like it anyway. Perhaps Koolhaus will be my 'warm' hat when I get around to it!

Knitting aside, is everyone Turkey'd out yet? I am, and we still have a ton left! I made stock Saturday and soup Sunday. The carcass made a lot more stock than usual, though, so I have plent to freeze to use later. I made a tukey shepherd's pie (because I made 10lbs of mashed potatoes!) that was marginal. I've never had shepherd's pie, so I don't have anything to compare to, but it definitely needed more seasoning (I used this recipie).

I had such a nice 4 days away from work, it's going to be TOUGH to get up tomorrow morning, that's for sure!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

My pie is baked, the cranberry relish is sweetened, the cranberry sauce is thickened and the potatoes are all cut and in water in the fridge (courtesy of Jake, who told me last night to sit down and knit for a while and he'd take care of the potatoes!). The oven is preheating. All that is left is to stuff and bake the bird and roast the squash. .. . . and spend the rest of my day knitting!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dream in Neutrals?

I had a dream about yarn last night. Not a general dream with yarn in it, or knitting, a dream about a very specific skein of yarn in my stash - a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. I can't say I've ever had such a specific fiber dream before. I blame it on my late night stomach contents of gin & clam chowder. Or the CTH is jealous that it wasn't chosen to be wound up yesterday when I wound two new balls of sock yarn.

Last night, Jake & I went to see Garrison Keillor. It wasn't a taping for Prairie Home Companion, just him, all by himself. When I lived in Minnesota, I went to the Fitzgerald to see a taping, I was worried last night would be a waste of the ticket money. How entertaining could it be, after all, to be JUST Garrison Keillor? Incredibly, would be the correct answer to that question. He has such an amazing gift for storytelling, and perhaps more importantly, a voice that is totally enchanting. Even if you sort of lose interest in the actual story, just listening to the tone and cadence in his voice is supremely comforting. If I were a billionaire, I would pay him to come to my house and tell me a bedtime story every night. I can't imagine a more lovely way to fall asleep. So it was a great evening, and certainly more interesting than the usual Tuesday night! It was a bit odd that I think I counted 6 other people in our age range. There were younger folks there who seemed to be dragged with their parents, and pretty much everyone else in attendance was in their 50s or beyond. As Jake would say, when he jokes on my knitting, I'm apparently an old lady trapped in a young body :) The show wrapped up around 9, so we decided to go for a cocktail at Kincaid's.

Ordinarily, I'm not a huge fan of chain restaurants. . .. especially chain restaurants in shopping malls, but I make an exception for Kincaid's. The bartenders there. . . let me tell you. . . they can make a Gimlet. A gimlet that is worth the $10 price tag, to boot. You wouldn't think it's such a hard drink to make, but I've ordered it enough to know it really throws off the majority of bartenders. We walked the couple blocks to the mall and ordered cocktails and checked out the menu. It was chilly through the whole show (apparently Chrysler Hall doesn't believe in central heating) so combined with my lack of socks (wearing high heels) and the outdoor walk, the Clam Chowder on the menu spoke to me as a nice warm up. It was a nice end to the evening, but put food in my belly far too close to my bedtime, apparently.

I woke up this morning and resisted the urge to go wind the CTH up. I'm in the midst of some major knitting - I've cast on an unruly number of new projects recently, I really don't need yet another pair of socks!

What have I been knitting, you ask? Well, over the weekend I finished the wedding present I was working on but I need a small army of T-pins to block it - and you know, no photos until the recipient gets it. I finished knitting and felting Jake's slippers. They are still drying right now. I also finished my Socks that Rock (which, by the way are the most perfectly fitting socks I've knit to date. ... I LOVE them!!). Because I still wasn't prepared to go back to Jake's sweater or socks, I cast on for one of the wedding shawls. I'm making Wisp for both of my MOHs. It's pretty but simple enough that it won't take a crazy long time and so if neither of them wear it again, I won't be upset. The Kidsilk is a bit of a challange to work with, but the result is pretty so far. And WARM! It's noticeable the temperature difference where the scarf sits on my lap when I work on it. Then yesterday I felt the need to start more socks. For the 'instant gratification', I wound up the Dashing Dachs from the second shipment of the Woolgirl sock club. It's sportweight so should work up nice and fast. The 'Froggin' colorway isn't anything I'd pick myself, but if nothing else I can wear them in my boots and no one will see them. The pattern I'm using is Swirl Socks. I'm already up to starting the heel gussets and they only have seen about an hour of knitting. Pulling the Dashing Dachs out of my stash, I came across the Misti Alpaca Sock I got a few months ago. The yarn is totally luscious. Alpaca/Merino/Silk blend, with some nylon for durability. Given how cold it's been, I wanted a treat for my feet so I wound it up and decided it would become the Herringbone Rib socks from the latest Interweave (sorry, no link since it's part of an article and not a stand alone pattern). I haven't cast on yet, because I think I'm going to attempt two at a time, so I need to wind a 2nd ball. I think it will be a Thanksgiving project.

Tonite I'll be pumpkin pie baking and cranberry making. I hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving. I personally am thankful that Jake didn't have to go overseas for work and will actually be here for dinner. What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 24, 2008


This is not at all knitting related, so feel free to ignore :) I did complete THREE projects this weekend, though, but I'll post about them when I have photos!

I hate my job. I have hated it for quite some time, but Friday pushed me over the edge. The place is on fire and 95% of the leadership has decided to throw both ethics and good business sense out of the window. It took all of my common sense to not hand in my resignation effective immediately. I know it would be stupid to quit without something else solid lined up. Part of me hopes to stick around long enough for the inevitable layoffs (in the 7.5 years I've worked here, there have been at least 7 rounds of layoffs so far) that will come in the First Quarter to attempt to make earnings look better. At least if I get laid off, I get a hefty severance check. Part of me just wants to find a new job that I will actually have the motivation to care about going to. It's hard to get out of bed to go work for someone you don't respect. If I didn't have a good work ethic, I wouldn't even care about the customers I support. Lucky for me (and them) I do take it seriously and try to make sure my customers get the best support they can, so I still actually show up to work. I am just not so much with the 'above and beyond' anymore.

So why all the whining? Because I'm so tired of people telling me I need to stop complaining and just 'BE HAPPY' I have a job. I mean, really, why should I be HAPPY that my employer treats me like crap? So many people I know are trapped in jobs - particularly people in Vermont who don't have many other options than to work where they are now. I feel BLESSED that I'm not in a situation where I'm a sole bread-winner and that I'm not living paycheck to paycheck. I feel grateful that I am well educated with a strong resume and therefore have the flexibility to consider leaving my present employer. I'm thankful that I chose to leave Michigan when I graduated from college so I'm not riding the roller coaster that is the auto industry (though given that when I started in Vermont there were 8200 employees at my location and when I was there last week the count was barely 5000, I'd say percentage wise I didn't make the best choice of industry moves!). I'm a lot of things, but I'm not HAPPY that I have this job. I am even LESS happy that so many people feel like they have to deal with this kind of crap. No one should have to continually 'suck it up' and be disrespected just because their employer knows they have no where to go.

So there. And no, I'm not being self-righteous, I just refuse to stay in a job where my personal ethical line is being trampled on by the majority of leaders. It's only possible to be buffered from it for so long.

And now, my to-date mostly half-assed job hunting is now going into full gear. My goal is to send my resume to at least 10 positions each week until I find something new. I did 5 today. Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

X is for Xenophobe

I dare say this was the most difficult letter of this ABC-along (my Y and Z are chosen, and I get a pretty easy pass with the Z!). I racked my brain, searched the internet for X words. Nothing seemed appropriate so I took a BIG leap, and I give the xenophobe in my life:

I know, I know, I hear you - Carly, that is your dog Jimmy Ray. How does that fit? I told you I was taking a leap here. Jimmy Ray is quite possible the polar opposite of Zosia. Zosia is a ridiculously outgoing dog. She is not scared of anything or anyone. She's quite the social butterfly. She makes best friends with anyone who comes to the house. Jimmy Ray, well, he had a rough start in life. Jimmy Ray came to us through a local rescue. He spent the first year of his life penned in a garage with 4 other beagles - all the same litter. The owner was a trucker. His elderly father was supposed to come by to feed and water the dogs, but often forgot. One night during a thunderstorm, the dogs escaped and a caring neighbor gathered them up and went to talk to the owner when he returned. He agreed to turn over the dogs to the rescue. Thankfully he wasn't physically abused, but the neglect and lack of any socilization as a pup resulted in making Jimmy Ray very scared of anything unknown. It took him several months to even start to come near Jake & I. He's come very far in the time we've had him (nearly 2 years!), Zosia has helped him come out of his shell. However, he's still scared of strangers. He's small and cute so everyone wants to pet him when we're out and he tries to flatten himself to the ground or hide behind our legs. So there - Jimmy Ray is scared of strangers, so that makes him a xenophobe! (But he's a cute one!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Something Old, Something New

While I'm having a far from traditional wedding, I still plan to do the old/new/borrowed/blue thing. Call me superstitious :) Because I really want a vintage feel to things, I decided several months ago I wanted to find a beautiful cameo for the day. The thought originated with my originally planned dress, but it stuck. Shopping on Friday I found the perfect one - and I bought it!

To be fair, I actually found this several months ago and decided not to buy it because the price was a little steep. I love the uniqueness of the rectangular gold backing, though, and it really stuck in my mind since I saw it. When I shopped for others, I would gauge them against my memory of this one. So, when I found myself at the same antique shop, I went to see if they still had it. I still loved it, and I had a particularly crappy day at work so the price tag didn't seem so bad. Then the sales girl told me she could take 10% off AND Jake told me I could use some of our shower gift money (earmarked for something for us of course) to pay for part of it, so it came home with me! (but for the record, I'm not using 'our' gift money to pay for any of it, but it was super sweet of him to offer, right?!)

I think it is beautiful and I've decided to make an effort to wear it for more than the wedding. Broaches aren't really my thing, though, so I think it will take some work to figure out how to incorporate it in my jewelry rotation :) The piece is from the 1920s. I'm told it's particularly unusual given that the subject has her hair up. It was far more common for the portraits to show flowing locks. I never would have noticed myself, but after the owner told me, I did notice every other cameo was down. The cameo itself is conch shell. I came home and did some research and found out I got a very good price, given what I found of comparable age and size, so all in all, I am quite happy. Now to decide. . . . is it my something old or my something new?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Home Again

I had a mostly uneventful trip, which is nice for once. The only little hitch was a surprise snow storm as we were trying to land in Burlington, forcing the plane to make 3 approaches to see if visibililty had increased so our little Turbo Prop could land. After the 3rd, had we not landed they were sending us back to La Guardia. That would have sucked. Apparently, Vermont has gotten smaller since I lived there. When I got to the airport at 8:20 for my 9:10am flight, security was closed. Yeah. . . . just closed. . . . no TSA to be found and the door leading into the screening area locked. What kind of airport CLOSES security?! About 15 minutes later, the TSA came back - group break, I guess, and being a tiny airport, it was mostly a non-issue.

What did I accomplish on my trip? Well, work wise, my meeting was great. Which is good, because I busted my butt to get everything coordinated and prepped. Of course, do you think my boss even gave me a 'nice job' or any sort of positive affirmation? Surely not. . . . reason eleventybillion and seventy two why I have to find a new job. Friend wise, I got to meet my friend Nikki's brand new baby who happened to be born on my birthday :) Knitting wise, I have almost a pair of socks! Not Jake's socks. . . a BRAND spanking new pair that I started on Tuesday while flying. If medium weight Socks that Rock were a person, I would totally marry it!! Just like the last socks I did from the yarn, the stuff knits up so fast! I figured I'd keep on the instant gratification knits for the time being. The pattern is the Double Waffle Stitch from More Sensational Knit Socks. It does a good job of masking the color spiral/pools that the STR does (it must be how she dyes, because it's the SAME way the XMas Rock colorway knit up).

Monday, November 17, 2008

The cure for Knitters Block

Phew! I tell you, nothing gets your knitting mojo back like some quick satisfaction knitting! I didn't necessarily have knitters block, but I'm not all that into stuff I've had OTN. Jake's socks are tedious, Jake's sweater - it's in timeout due to more pattern errors, my lace scarf is simple but moving slowly and my goddess is suffering for lack of motivation, since it won't be warm enough to wear for quite some time and the secret gift is nearly done, and I just don't want to do the cast of and blocking. Then I knit the test knit mittens. . . . in a day. . . then I cast on for Jake's slippers (hmmm. . . that's a lot of knits for him now that I list what's OTN!) and I'm nearly done with them. Now I feel like a knitting CHAMP! I still have to figure out what to start/take on a work trip with me. I leave in the AM. I'm thinking of continuing on the quick knit and wind up the STR I have - since the last pair I made I did in two days. Or, I'll treat myself and wind up the new Malabrigo sock yarn I got (sooooooooo nice!) if I can live with a simple basic pattern for it. Remind me I have this mojo when I'm complaining about the shawls I'm knitting for my wedding :)

Sorry no pictures. . . it's dreary and overcast AGAIN (surprise!) here, so not so photo friendly light.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

W is for Weekend Knitting

Holy Cow, people! I knit an entire project from start to finish on Saturday. This is surely a record for me. I give you my Faberge Mittens.

They are not really MY mittens, they are a gift. They were a test knit for a Ravelry designer, the same woman who did the Faberge Cowl. Pretty, huh?

W is also for Wii :) Yes, Jake & I joined the rest of the world in buying a Wii today. We've spent the last 4 hours bowling and playing tennis. Can you say huge time suck?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is this just a Michigan thing?

So given it's early November, and the Weezer Red Album is getting constant play in my house and it's talked about in Heart Songs, the Edmund Fitzgerald has been on my mind. The famous Great Lakes Freighter sank on November 10, 1975. It has a fair bit of folklore behind it, since no trace of the wreck or bodies have ever been found. There was no distress call from the ship, it just sort of disappeared. The story was put to song by Gordon Lightfoot in 1976.

EVERYONE in Michigan knows this song. And just like the song says, the Mariner's Church in Detroit tolls its bell 29 times in honor of the wreck on the Anniversary.

When I lived in Minnesota, the boy I was dating was into all things Maritime (he's a Navy Pilot now) and we took a trip from the Twin Cities up to Duluth to see a play in the hull of a ship that was based on the events of that fateful night.

In short, the Great Lakes states take this seriously! Then it somehow came up in conversation at a knitting night and every single person looked at me like I had 3 heads when I talked about the song. I have always just assumed, since the song was #2 on the Billboard charts, that it was pretty well known and it wasn't just a regional thing. So, I gotta ask. . . who else has at least heard of it? Am I really that much of a southern anomaly?!

Maybe I am odd. . . . I used to think everyone could name the 5 Great Lakes, but apparently that's also only something they teach you if you live near them, which I figured out when I moved to Vermont. (For the record, remember HOMES to know the great Lakes. Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior)

Sweater Status

Jake's sweater is coming along, though it's really not all that interesting to look at in a picture, so you don't get one! I'm quite convinced I could have been done by now have I not had to spend so much time trying to figure out pattern errors. Based on this experience, I definitely will not purchase KnitPicks patterns in the future, since they clearly don't do much in the way of tech editing. The errors I'm finding really don't have much excuse, a non-knitter who can count could at least figure out something was wrong, even if they couldn't fix it! So I'm up to where you're supposed to 3-needle bind off the front and back of the shoulder together and the count is off by 6 stitches. I guess I can just put the extra stitches in the collar, but it really does tick me off! The collar should be quick knitting, and then I just have the sleeves, so hopefully by month end it'll be done. And then I shread the pattern! I do hope the pattern is right that the yarn will stretch with wash & wear, because it's a bit short for him as it is now!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Baking Queen? Not Quite.

I came home from Knitting this afternoon to make No-Knead Bread. I got the suggestion from a Rav member in the Cooking group as a fabulous use of my fancy Le Creuset dutch oven. It has to rest for 18 hours, but I thought it was 24, so I had to kick around a bit to have it ready at a reasonable hour so I didn't have to wake up super early tomorrow to bake it. I'm a tad concerned about the dough, as it's supposed to be 'shaggy & sticky'. While I have no idea what 'shaggy' would refer to in dough, I do know sticky and this didn't seem all that sticky. I fear I may have a bit too much water, or used flour I shouldn't have. So, the possibility of it not turning out, coupled with having a ton of yeast leftover, I decided to try another bread recipe I've had sitting around the house for a while for Honey Whole Wheat bread. (Sorry, no linky, it's not online!) I have never had the best luck with bread (except for the monkey bread last Christmas), so it was a nice surprise that it turned out edible. I don't think it's exactly right because it's quite dense, which I think means I should have let it rise more. But turned out well enough that I'll try again in the future. We'll see tomorrow how the no knead turns out.

If I were to leave Jake. . . .

it would be for him:
I told Jake this last night while we watched Casino Royale. We rented it because we both want to see Quantum of Solace, but since it's a bit of a continuation we wanted to see the first movie. It was surprisingly good for a Bond movie. Don't get me wrong, I like Bond movies, but they are not typically a 'good movie' in a broad context. . . it's like Rocky or something, you know what you are going to get! It was unexpected that the plot was actually engaging and interesting. My only critique was that it was a bit long. Of course, now this means my expectations for seeing the new one are probably too high and I'll be disappointed. As disappointed as I can be while watching Daniel Craig :) I can't figure out how he hides all that wonderful bulky physique in clothing. When he's fully dressed, you'd never guess he was built like that underneath! Yum!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Long Overdue

Well, I finished this in AUGUST but never got around to having Jake take some photos for me, but here she is, my lovely MAUDE!

Possibly my favorite project ever :) I've even almost forgot what a PITA the lace pattern was. It wasn't necessarily hard, but a little fiddly and I don't think I did a full round without having to tink back at least a few stitches, if not the whole row. Totally worth it in the end, though! Truth be told, I probably should have made the XS. I'm always wary of choosing and how much ease is assumed and I didn't want it to end up too small. It's still wearable, just a bit loose. Hopefully it doesn't stretch, that would make me sad :(

More recent - finished on Tuesday, Jake's new hat. Yes, it is the same hat I made for his dad! I really REALLY love this pattern. If I knew another person who needed a hat, it's a very real possibility I would make this for a third time. I also LOVE the yarn - Ultra Alpaca. Seriously, it could someday overrun Malabrigo as my #1 favorite yarn. It is just so soft and lovely! I got two skeins of the new Ultra Alpaca Fine in a swap and I'm hoping it's as lovely as the worsted weight!

In both cases, please excuse the marginal photos. It has been raining here since Monday and it gets dark so early there is little natural light. My camera is dying, too. . . I'm trying to choose a new one as a birthday/Christmas gift from my mom. Anyone have a suggestion for a good quality but not too complicated to use digital?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pretty, Pretty

So I finished knitting up Jake's hat, but I don't have a picture of it on him yet, so instead I'll share with you my most recent impulse buy.

I give you a skein of FarmHouse Yarn Fannie's Fingeringpurchased on a recent visit to KnitWits. The colorway is called 'Berries and Caramel'.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

V is for Velour

Yeah, yeah, I know, it's a stretch, but V is a toughy!

These are my most favorite lounge pants, and yes, my friends, they are VELOUR! They were formerly owned by my friend Nikki (blame her for why I say 'mum' and not 'mom' - she's from Liverpool). When she got pregnant, she was getting rid of some of her clothes and I happily took them because they actually were the right length for me (being all of 5'1" pants that do not need hemming is cause for celebration!). Jake despises these pants, but I tell you nothing is more comfortable to drive in than these pants and they are all I ever wear when going on a long car trip. And, of course, I can feel fancy wearing British clothes :) (The pants are from Marks & Spencer, Nikki's most favorite department store!)

And with that, I am caught up on the ABC-along again. Only 4 letters left, so I'm going to try to stay timely to close out the year!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Take 2

10am and there were only ~30 people in total in the gymnasium. Took me about 20 minutes to vote. Yay for the flexibility of telecommuting! I was ballot 365 in the box I put my ballot in, I couldn't see the count on the other. In the primary, I voted about the same time of day and I was ballot 29 in my box, so I guess the turnout is higher than normal!

U is for Unfinished

As in, the current state of my home renovation.

Remember my silly goal of being complete before July? Well, if we ever worked on it, it probably could have been done, but we are the laziest people EVER when it comes to doing this work! We just never have the motivation to do it! My new goal is to have drywall finished and paint on the walls and new floors at least CHOSEN if not in some state of installation by Christmas. Feasible, yes?

Try #1

So, 6:50am, I got in my car and drove to the elementary school. Lots of cars, but I was able to find a spot with no real issue, so I assumed not so bad inside. WRONG! I walked in and turned right back around and walked out! Up side, people can wait inside, down side, you can't drive by to see if there is a line. Next stop will be around 10am. . .. everyone who has to work should have had to leave for work, mom's who voted after dropping kids off at school should be gone too, so I think it has potential to be less busy. I need to go pick some sock yarn to make a basic sock with, though, in case I have to wait with Jake later. Nothing I have OTN is simple enough for in line knitting.

In an attempt to avoid politics last night with nothing decent on TV, we decided to watch Midnight Cowboy ONDemand. I was not expecting it to be such a depressing movie! And I couldn't get past Dustin Hoffman sounding like Charlie Babbit rather than a native New Yorker. It was worth the $1.99, though!

Rainy Election Day

I was going to go to the polls right at 6AM, until I saw on the news people were lined up outside in the rain waiting for polls to open. Really, I'm not that dedicated! I've never not voted in an election, and worst case I'll just go when Jake votes after work so at least I'm not waiting alone, but I'm amazed that they found some guy on the news who went to the middle school he votes at at 2:30AM to wait for them to open. Insane? I think so! All I can say is I'm darn glad today is the last day of election phone calls and TV ads.

Inspired by the soup I made last week. . . my first totally ad hoc, no reference to a recipe at all, I trolled my fridge and pantry last night and decided I would make pasta with spinach and cannellini beans. I couldn't figure out a good sauce to go with it, though, so I just googled the ingredients and came up with this one. I used whole wheat fusilli rather than bowties and I had less spinach on hand, but it was quite tasty. The only thing I can't figure out is their nutritional information:
(based on individual servings)
Calories: 545
Total Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 5 mg
Sodium: 925 mg
Carbohydrates: 99 g
Fiber: g
Protein: 24 g

Where in the hell do they get 7g of Fat PER SERVING?! I'm totally confused, since the only things with fat are the tiny bit of olive oil you cook the onions in and the cheese you may sprinkle on top! I'm convinced someone mixed this up with another recipe! (Yes, I know beans have fat, but it's negligible. The brand I used has 1g in the entire can, so for 4 servings that is .25g) It was a simple and easy dinner, with lots of protein and fiber so I think it will stay in my rotation.

I hope your poll lines aren't as long as I anticipate mine to be, but do be sure you go out and

Monday, November 3, 2008

Très Magnifique!

My Birthday weekend was so wonderful! Very little planned, which is unusual. Maybe that is why it was one of my nicest birthday's ever! Jake got home from Vegas around 6:30 Friday night. He was pretty tired, since I had warned him of how crowded the security lines in Vegas are (they always have been when I've flown through there) but it was dead as a doornail when he arrived at 5am for his 7am flight. . . . He almost gave up his seat home, thinking Delta was offering something really worthwhile since they needed like 7 people to give up seats. . . but it was only a $400 voucher, so he skipped it - but he gets major points for calling me to ask 'Will $400 help us out at all if I give up my seat? Do we need to fly anywhere next year?'

Halloween was sad, with my whopping total of 3 trick-or-treaters :( Last year I had 7, so this year I didn't buy too much candy, but I was disappointed. I love seeing little ones dressed up! Since Jake was tired, he sat on the couch the rest of the evening and read. . . I knit on my secret wedding gift while listening to my two new favorite CDs - Kasey Chambers Rattlin' Bones and Weezer's Red Album. If you haven't heard of Kasey Chambers I highly recommend you You Tube a few songs. She and her husband are fantastic! And I'm always a Weezer fan, this CD might be my favorite since the first.

So we slept in on Saturday, and Jake made me a fantastic breakfast - eggs with fresh mushrooms, spinach and brie! After breakfast I got to open a present - and it was a fancy new ball winder! A lovely accompaniment to the swift he made me last year :) We went out to do some shopping where I got some fab new mascara and a jellyroll pan so Jake could make the dessert I requested. We also got a few Christmas gifts for a great deal at BB&B :) We had a mini-snafu when we got home that involved my accidentally decorating Jake's truck with two new scratches. He handled it well, and on today's agenda is a trip to the Nissan dealer to get some touch up paint! I had two packages waiting from the mailman. The first from B&SIL - two supersoft skeins of Alpaca from a New York Alpaca farm. I think it wants to be mittens!

The other was the 2nd package from this round of PRGE and my awesome partner Shelvicious. My package rocked, and of course goes well with my Birthday :) The package included two Halloween Themed cocktail concoctions, cute Halloween dish scrubbies, Halloween Mr Potato Head, a gorgeous skein of Silky Malabrigo in Amoroso and a pattern to use it on, a skein of K1C2 Ty-Dy socks - which I haven't seen before but the long color repeats look so awesome on the FOs on Ravelry! Rounding out the package was a bamboo needle maintenance kit and some Ferrero Rocher yummies! Thanks, Vanessa!!

Saturday night Jen (who rarely blogs) hosted Poker night so we hung out there - where I most definitely did NOT drink an entire bottle of wine by myself! Jen made me the awesomeist apron for my Birthday! Pretty, right?

Sunday we hung out at the house most of the day, then got all dressed up to go to dinner at the WineHouse. This was our first time there since they've moved and I have to say it was disappointing. We're chalking it up to growing pains and having a lot of new staff to fill the much larger space so we'll go again, but my risotto was the gummiest, blandest thing I've ever gotten in a restaurant! But what totally makes up for a lackluster dinner? A ridiculously fantastic dessert! Jake, who always makes me a delicious dessert on my birthday, did an amazing job on the Pumpkin Roll. I think it would be super delicious as a cake with regular icing and not rolled up, too. I told Jake to add a little ginger and nutmeg, but otherwise he followed the recipe exactly. If you like pumpkin and cheesecake, you need to make this roll!

And that, my friends, is how to have a great Birthday! Though for all the dessert I ate, we will be spending some extra time at the gym today. That's OK, though, since another gift I got was a heart rate/calorie mointor, so I can play with it! I've been wanting one for a while, because I never believe the ones on the machine at the gym!

I hope you all have a great week!!

T is for Tiara

Really, I'm not THAT high maintenance. Sure, I'm an only child and I like things my own way, but I guess I'd classify that more as particular than 'high maintenance'. Clearly others have a different opinion at times. In the last two weeks, I've gotten two tiaras, so to catch up on my ABC-Along, my T is for Tiara.

First, from the fabulous Malabrigo Swap group, I got a Birthday themed package from (blogless) Deb in NJ, and she told me everyone needs a tiara on their birthday.

Then, at my bridal shower, my cousin Laura included a tiara in my gift 'So that Jake will never forget he is marrying a Princess' :)