Friday, June 27, 2008

Aren't we cute?

Last night we picked up the CD of our engagement pictures. Darlene is a wonderful still life photographer and is just starting to venture out into human photography. She did our photos very inexpensively in exchange for experience and using the photos in her portfolio. The main reason we were doing pictures is so my mum can have a picture for the obligatory announcement in the hometown paper. Of course, since Jake hates taking pictures, I was excited at possibly getting a nice one of us to frame in the house :) This is my favorite picture of the day.
You can check out all the pictures here.

The wind didn't cooperate always, so some pictures that would be really great have me with funky hair, but there are enough nice ones that I'm not disappointed (though I would have loved one under the weeping willow!)

Opinions on the dress? It was a touch big but most of the photos hide it well (the back gaped). I bought a grand total of 14 dresses through 4 very long, exhausting hours of shopping on Friday night and another 2 on Saturday morning. I didn't keep count in total, but at Macy's alone I tried on 42 dresses, so all in all the try on number had to be greater than 100. I was expecting a call from the credit card company due to the amount being spent in a very small time frame (as I also bought several things for Jake to match depending what dress I chose). I also snuck in 2 pair of new Levi's that are as close to fitting properly as I've found in a long time. I truly despise shopping for anything other than shoes, purses or kitchen supplies. Nothing ever fits and it's always an ordeal. Most stores don't even carry stuff below a Size 4, but I will try on 'just in case' it may fit. It never does. . you think I'd learn my lesson. So, I'm primarily relegated to whatever Ann Taylor/LOFT have that season in a 0P. Seriously? I'm a zero? I'm nothing? The weird part to me about this is a) in HS I was smaller than I am now, but wore a 5/6 and b) I know plenty of people smaller than me and I always wonder where they shop. . . kids section? It's crazy and does nothing but make me more self conscious than I already am. Maybe if I actually work on my sewing I can espouse the fashion industry and dress myself in perfectly tailored clothes made myself! Oddly enough, in all my sewing patterns, my measurements put me in a Size 6/8. . . why such a disconnect?! I know not a single person of any size who has a good time finding clothes, so who are these things made for?!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Not just one. . .

But TWO FOs, folks! Whoa. . . that might just mean hell is freezing over, perhaps best to take cover :)

First, Branching Out, fully blocked.

I really love this, and I need to figure out what I'm going to do with it. I adore the yarn (and the girls at Yarn for Breakfast all agreed yesterday) which really makes me want to keep it, but I'm not sure how often I would really wear it, given the very moderate temperatures here, so I think it's best to gift it. Perhaps as a thank you to the family friend who is throwing my bridal shower.

Second, Picovoli.

I'm pretty 'eh' about it (it is just plain 'ol stockinette, what did I expect?!), but it was a good use of the Silky Tweed and it fits very well. Unfortunately, I still have one full and one nearly full skein left, and no idea what I'd make of it. . .Maybe another branching out, since that pattern actually calls for silky wool, but not sure how lace + tweed will look.

Since Jake's parents are coming to visit in two weeks, I feel the need to resurrect the hat I started for Bob ages ago. I know completing and gifting it now will lead to no small amount of sarcasm about a nice warm hat for the summer (Meg, I'm sure you'll agree Bob could not leave that be) but I really want to clear up some WIPs. I have a tendency to let things get out of control, including the ridiculous number of WIPs I have. I've started with the small goal of keeping the laundry level below 'overflowing' in the hamper and that is going well. Next will be promptly putting away dishes from the dishwasher (it is currently clean from 3 days ago but not yet put away, leading to a gathering of dishes WAITING to go in the dishwasher cluttering the counter). I'm hoping this will snowball into generally keeping a less cluttered home (and yes, if you're asking, this is partially spurred by the future in-laws visit. . . . FMIL has a touch of cleaning OCD and sweeps/washes her floors multiple times a day among other cleaning quirks! I'm sure she shudders at the thought of what our house may be, since last time she was here I caught her trying to sneak in a quick vacuum of the upstairs while I was out of the house. . .)

I've got 2.5 inches left to finish the body of Maude, then the sleeves should be quick and that will be done, leaving me only my Baltimore socks (which require some frogging to get the right gusset size so I've been avoiding) and the Boyfriend socks for Jake (which are on hold pending buying some reinforcing thread for the short row heel). I hope to get the reinforcing thread and some elastic thread for the cuff ribbing on my trip up to Richmond Saturday. Jen, Jess & I are making a day trip for yarn + Wedding Dress shopping. Should be loads of fun :)

And, just to add to the craziness, I realized my golf lessons will expire in 3 weeks, so I need to get two lessons scheduled ASAP! Hopefully I've retained a little of what I learned last year :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Post 200 deserves a FO!

Yay! This post is #200 :) As such, I think it is worthy of showing a FO. What did I finish, you ask? Oh, I'm a bad bad girl . .. I finished nothing I have been working on for ages. As I said, I've gotten bored and needed some 'instant gratification'. That is why I was going to make Summerlin, but that required swatching, and I didn't have the patience for that, either. So, I give you the (unblocked) Branching Out!

I have no idea if I'll keep this or gift it at Christmas time. I'm anxious to block it since it looks a little blah right at the moment. That'll force me to block Picovoli, too :)

I started this Thursday and finished this morning. It was quick, I think in large part to the DELICIOUS yarn. I used the K1C2 Ambrosia I got in a swap package. OMFG! This yarn is TO.DIE.FOR! It's 70% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk, 10% Cashmere. It is beyond soft and may make it slightly impossible to give this away :) And, just another reason to adore swaps, right? I never would have picked this up on my own, but you get stuff from others and then you HAVE to try it! I would buy this again in a heartbeat. .. I mean, it's a little pricey, but if I had the right project for it! I have a tiny bit of it left (~20 yards), I could have gotten one more lace repeat in, but I'm happy with the length of it.

The engagement pictures were yesterday. Dress shopping for it was a fiasco, but that deserves a post on its own :)

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

M is for Malabrigo!

Duh! This was a pretty easy one :) I love Malabrigo!! Compared to others, I don't have a crazy stash of it, but I think it's pretty healthy! I've got 4 skeins of worsted, 1 skein of Chunky, 2 skeins of Silky and 1 skein of the new Organic Cotton. Nice sampling, if I do say so myself :) The Chunky was supposed to turn into Clara, but now I'm thinking for my next hat to make a Slouchy Beret with the Loro Barranquero. The mix of burgundy and gold and green is so cool, I think it'll knit up fabulously! No specific plans for anything else at the current moment other than petting and admiring.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Proof of Knitting

Last night we went to see The Avett Brothers. In case I haven't said it before, we love them :) However, we are not really huge fans of crazy crowds of people. I was excited that this particular show was at a small theater, rather than a typical concert venue, so there were assigned seats and some assurance I wouldn't be stuck uncomfortably standing and still not being able to see, or being constantly brushed by those extremely exuberant and sweaty dancer types. Since we'd be sitting, I thought about taking Maude to try to get through some more ribbing (I'm BEYOND bored with it!). In preparation, I finally strung her onto some waste yarn to try the top on to see just how much ribbing I needed still (heaven forbid I take it to the concert and OVERKNIT the ribbing!). So, as proof that I am knitting, here is a shot (please ignore the clashing royal blue shirt that I'm wearing underneath. Please also ignore the fact that I look like a whale - it must be the angle of the photo because it's not that unflattering when I saw it in the mirror.) I love it! More so, of course, because it actually fits! I think the bodice will snug up just a bit when I pick up stitches to knit the sleeves. The bad news is I'm still 4 (stretched) inches shy, which is a LOT MORE RIBBING :( 2 more regular rib, then the final 2 inches of garter rib, so at least that goes faster! My only real complaint is how wide the neckline is, I don't think I'll be able to wear a regular bra with it. I am so NOT one who believes the clear bra straps showing is ever an acceptable option, so I'll either have to wear a strapless or stitch in a few snaps on the shoulder to hold the straps.

I ended up NOT taking it with me (though I totally should have, I really did sit for all the concert except the encore). The concert was awesome. They played 3 songs off a new album coming out next month and a healthy amount of favorites (including this one, which I've had stuck in my head for a good two weeks). It really was one of the best concerts I've been to, very laid back mix of songs because of the venue and it really showcased what amazing musicians they are. Seriously, they all play so many different instruments! Check them out, totally worth it :)

I have to do some serious shopping tonite and tomorrow because Sunday we are having our engagement pictures taken so of course, this calls for a new dress :)

Have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A nice Surprise

OK, I've said it before, but I've not been a fan of any of the LYS nearby. One is unfriendly (at least to me), one is crazy, one has a nice variety within brands (like every yarn the brand makes) but only carries like 4 brands, and the other two were simply underwhelming. Locals, feel free to mix and match which shop you think goes with which description :) As such, I make most of my purchases online. Last night, Jen and I were going out to get fabric (yeah, remember that 'sewing' thing I supposedly do. .. ) and since we left were early enough to hit a yarn shop before the 5pm closing time, we made a detour to The Knitting Corner. We walked in and right away we both commented on the updated layout and the fact that there were a BUNCH of new yarns we hadn't seen before. (hello Noro sock!) I was totally impressed! It was much brighter and the shop seemed bigger, even though I think there was actually more in there. Of course, I'm not spending money on yarn until our (supposed to have been done by end of June - HA!) remodel is complete, but when I DO buy yarn again, I'll definitely be stopping there before automatically just buying online.

While I'm not buying more yarn, fabric is still fair game. I had two goals for Fabric Hut yesterday, finally buy something to make the sun dress for myself that I purchased the pattern for ages ago, and find some cute little girl fabric to make this ADORABLE thing. I plan to make two, one for Tricia's little girl (who was the recipient of Sheldon) and one for our friends in Vegas who just had their first. I decided the boredom with my current projects needs to be broken up with a quick finish project, which these definitely will be. Cute combos, no? Unfortunately, despite a GINORMOUS selection of fabrics, they had NO cotton blends to make my dress from. Of course they have thousands of patterned quilters cotton, but I don't think the drape will be what I want for a sun dress, so I'm back to square one for finding fabric. Maybe I'll finally have it sewn by the time it's too cold to wear it :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tofu - Take 1

In my quest for finding yummy non-meat dinners, I have branched out into tofu. This is partially because I think Jake would rather eat his own hand than eat black beans YET AGAIN, even though I'm pretty sure I could eat them every day an not be sick of them. I make stir fry a lot, so I figured swapping out the usual chicken for some tofu in the mushroom & broccoli stir fry should be pretty simple. With the aide of my trusty 'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian' (gotta love Mark Bittman!) I learned what kind of tofu to buy (Extra Firm) and some fun gals in the Cooking group on Rav told me how to prep it and I was off!
It was a LOT of tofu. . . it nearly took up my whole stir fry pan!
Then the veggies went back in.
And voilĂ ! Finished stir fry.
And I actually liked it. Jake really liked it, but that's no surprise because he on occasion has ordered tofu out. I, on the other hand, am more skeptical. I'd only eaten it once, and didn't love it, but given this stir fry I'll give it a few more shots. Next time I'll try to crisp the outside of the tofu more. I kept it still in the pan as long as I could without burning the garlic in the hot oil, bu t then I had to stir to make sure I didn't ruin the whole dish!

The recipe, if you're interested (pretty basic stir fry - my own twist on the tofu & peppers recipe!).
2 blocks extra firm tofu - squeezed dry & cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bunch broccoli, cut to stir fry sized pieces (use the stem too! just peel the outside before chopping!)
1 lb mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbs chopped fresh ginger
~3/4 c stock (I used chicken)
~3/4 c white wine (nothing too sweet)
2 scallions - chopped
Soy Sauce
1 Tbs cornstarch + 1 Tbs water mixed to remove any lumps
Oil (I used plain vegetable oil)

Heat some oil (1-2Tbs) in a large pan on high heat. Add broccoli and cook until slightly soft (~5 minutes) stirring frequently and adding more oil if necessary to keep the pan from going dry. Add mushrooms and cook 1-2 more minutes, or until veggies are just under desired doneness. Remove veggies from pan and set aside. Heat more oil (another 1-2Tbs) in the pan and add garlic and ginger, stir, and QUICKLY add tofu (don't let the garlic burn, but do let the garlic and ginger have a bit of time before the tofu comes in). Let the tofu brown on all sides (7-8 minutes in the pan). Add wine & stock to the pan, turn heat to high and let the liquid reduce to half. Add veggies back to the pan and stir to combine. Add soy sauce (to taste, I used ~1/4c) and scallions, stir quickly and then push aside the stir fry to have a small spot in the liquid without chunks. Add the cornstarch/water mixture to the liquid and stir. Allow to thicken for 1 minute and then serve over rice!

Missed it!

Oops! Looks like I missed my first blogiversary! It was this past Saturday, June 14 - yay me! Sticking with something for a year?! Surprising that I haven't lost interest :) I guess Jen over at Woolgirl did remember, though, as my latest sock club shipment happen to arrive on Saturday as a little gift :)
I'm totally blown away by the packages she puts together and I will definitely keep this club going next year! The theme of this month's shipment was Frogs, inspired by the inevitable ripping that all knitters must do. The yarn is the sportweight from Dashing Dachs (I'd never heard of the yarn before, so I'm anxious to try.) Granted, it's a colorway I would NEVER purchase on my own (you can see a better color shot in my Rav stash) but I'm going to give it a shot and knit it up! I don't think I'll use the pattern that we got, though. I'm considering something similar to Jen's Swirly Socks. With all that color, you REALLY need a simple pattern :) Other contents of the package were a calculator, a pencil, a postcard and notebook, a frog sucker, frog stickers, toy frogs and my two favorites, a Gauge measurer by Karatstix and the cutest stick marker EVER by WeeOnes. I love Karatstix's bamboo stuff (I have an Alpaca WPI measurer already) and the detail in the teeny tiny marker is amazing. This is the closest shot I could get that wasn't blurry!
You're jealous, right? :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

L is for Lily

Gardening is SOO not my thing! I've had a few potted plants in my day, they mostly live but don't exactly flourish. When I moved from Vermont, I gave my friend Allison all of my plants, including a Jade clipping from my godmother and a Hoya from my friend Kim's mother who had recently passed. Both plants were special to me, but I didn't know if they'd survive the move and Allison has the greenest thumb I know. Of course, the next time I visited BOTH plants had gotten HUGE and the Hoya flowered. I was jealous, but glad the plants had a happy home.

The woman we purchased our current house from loved to garden and had lots of stuff planted. Mostly pretty generic greenery in front, a ton of Azaleas, two small tiger lilies and a random tiny rose bush in the back. I didn't do anything to take care of the garden the first year we were here, because I didn't know what else was planted and, frankly, because I didn't really know what to do. I'm glad I didn't dig anything because I was surprised when day lilies started to come up! I hoped for pretty colors, and they are mostly yellow and orange, but one is simply stunning.
There is only one plant, but it is decently sized and I think I can dig it up and split it and maybe move it to the front of the house. So, for my (on time!) ABC Along entry, my L is for Lily :)


OK, Now I know dogs are hunters, so someone tell me why I get so skeeved out whenever they actually KILL something?! Actually, in the whole time we lived in Vermont, I never remember Zosia killing anything, despite the preponderance of field mice and bunnies. She surely liked to chase them, but never tried to kill them even when she caught them. Jimmy Ray is another story. He's had his fair share of birds and a squirrel. This morning as he was barking crazily while I made Jake's lunch, I peeked out the window and saw his nose buried in a gopher hole. I tried like crazy to call him in the house, because I have SEEN the gophers infesting our yard and they are HUGE! Nearly groundhog sized. Honestly, in a fight, I'm not sure the dog would win! Being a beagle, he of course totally ignored me, so when Jake came down I sent him out to see what was lying dead or dying in the yard. Jimmy Ray caught himself a mole. This made Jake happy as we really have a problem with the vermin in the yard. (vermin? when did I turn into Elmer Fudd Yosemite Sam ?! - whoops mixed up my Cartoon Characters there for a minute!) Of course, he doesn't have to go out and pick it up to get it in the trash (the mole was not QUITE dead when Jake went outside). Gross! At least today is trash day so the thing won't rot in our trash all week.

Oddly enough, he starts catching the things just when we bought our cure:
Yup, JuicyFruit. We tried the sonic spikes. They didn't do a darn thing. Really, I'd prefer not to kill the things, but they're totally worsening our already sorry excuse for a lawn and we ARE trying to not have the worst lawn in the neighborhood (no small task, given the majority of the neighborhood are retirees who spend a LOT of time in the yard!) We can't use poison without fear of the dogs digging it up, so gum it is. Apparently the gophers (and moles!) will eat the gum but they can't digest it, and akin to feeding seagulls alka-seltzer, they die from it (sans the belly explosion, I assume). Aaah, the joys of owning your own home, right?!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

K is for Kaleidoscope (and a visit to Vermont)

For the ABC along, I knew what I would use, as I had plans to stop at Kaleidoscope after work one day. Since they closed at 5, though, ended up that Friday was the only day I could go, and I forgot my camera :( Not a huge deal, as my idea for me with the sign would have been a no-go anyway because the the excessive RAIN! So, you will have to settle for a photo of my (very restrained) purchase.
6 buttons. . . that's it! I actually didn't even look at yarn (except a brief distraction by the sock yarn next to the cash register!) because I'm trying to stick to my not buying yarn until our renovation is done. I wanted to buy a new set of Sz 1 DPNs, but they only carry Brittany and I prefer Clover Bamboo needles. Anyhow, the buttons are for Maude, which I've made precious little progress on. Truth be told, I'm just not been in the mood for knitting. I've not really been in the mood for much aside from being lazy on the couch! I blame the heat :) As such, I drug the yarn to restart Lelah with me to Vermont on the deluded idea I'd finish the ribbing on Maude. Of course, I didn't touch Lelah and made only an inch or so of progress on Maude.

Aside from the horrible weather (it rained Tuesday-Friday, then turned to 95+ degrees on Saturday and Sunday!) the trip to Vermont was awesome. The work portion went well (I had a client visit which was the reason for the trip) and I was able to spend lots of time with my friends up there AND eat at all my favorite restaurants (except American Flatbread - but I lucked out and got a few flatbreads in my order from Organic Food Depot this week so that should satisfy the craving!). This meant I wasn't back to the hotel room until 11ish each night, so by Friday morning I had bags that could take me on a trip to China under my eyes! It didn't help that Jake's plane sat on the tarmac in Newark for 2 hours so his already late flight (originally slated to arrive at 10:45pm) didn't land until midnight. And he hadn't eaten, so we had to stop on the way back to the hotel to get him dinner. UGH!

Of course, the most exciting part of the trip is that I got my ring! Forgive the crappy photo :) I LOVE IT! It's so simple but not plain. I actually like the profile best, even though people really only see it from the top. I've gotten lots of compliments on it :)

Wedding dress shopping wasn't as good as I'd hoped. The shop that 'specializes' in Vintage gowns had like 20 vintage gowns, the rest were insanely priced designer gowns. I did find one dress that was reasonable that I liked, but it wasn't what I'm necessarily looking for (very 1930's Hollywood glamor!). They don't let you take photos at the shop while trying on to 'protect the designers' so I can't share. At one of the other shops I did find this dress. I love the bodice, it's very Art Deco looking to me. I didn't care for the enormous slit up the leg, though, (which is cleverly hidden in this photo because I have huge thighs which is why I don't like the slit!), and the right side seam was kind of poorly sewn so it didn't lie flat, so I passed.

Now that I'm back, and I have a ring, I really need to get a move on with actually planning the wedding. Through the power that is Ravelry, I got hooked up with a wedding planner out in Sonoma. She sent me a proposal and I have to check it out and get back to her. I kind of feel like once I hire her (if I hire her, I guess) then everything is just POOF, over! So I've been avoiding it. Realistically, I don't have all that much to do anyway . . . just choosing the vineyards for tasting and a restaurant and picking a photographer. I'm not worried about flowers, as they'll be pretty minimal, and we don't need a caterer, aren't doing a cake or a DJ. . . .so I have to just suck it up and get on with it :) I'm trying to think of something crafty/DIY for unique invitations. Since there are so few invites, I kind of want them to be more fun than the normal. Any ideas?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sad day to be a Woman

So, I generally try to avoid politics here, but I can't today. I am totally amazed that it's harder to be a woman than a black man in America. I know some people think the charges of sexism are overblown, but I don't think they are. I think the honest to goodness truth is that in the end, the powers that be are more comfortable with a penis, even if it's not the preferred color. No matter how deep we think race lines might be drawn, gender lines run deeper. Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of Hillary either. I voted for McCain in the primary and I'll most likely vote for a 3rd party candidate in the election rather than either McCain or Obama. I'm now just interested to watch as the spectacle unfolds and the news (I use that term loosely, there is very little 'news' that isn't just for entertainment value anymore) finds and interviews the most stereotypical redneck who will say he won't vote for Obama because he's black, and also finds the most stereotypical gangster who has never voted in his life, but will go to the polls and vote for Obama because he's black. I have zero hope anything of significance actually being discussed about the race from now until the election. (Not that I had a heck of a lot of hope of that anyway, based on this whole Primary season.)

Sorry to you Obama fans, but he's not 'change' and 'new' and 'different'. . . if he was, I promise you the Democratic party would not have embraced him as their chosen one! The political process is a shrewd one, and it's naive to believe they're happy-go-lucky about some candidate who thinks the 'old' way of politics needs to go. . . that would certainly be setting up for planned obsolescence, and no one in their right mind does that!

*Sigh* I guess I'll just sit here and dream of a day with a Democratic process that really IS! Ross Perot, please come back! :) Give me a a viable 3rd or 4th or 5th party!

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's ready!!!

Holy Cow! Two posts in one day? But I can't help it, Grannis just called and MY RING IS DONE! This means I don't have to wait until Thursday, I can go straight from the airport to the jewelry store and get it! I CAN'T WAIT!! Coincidentally, today is 2 months exactly from when we got engaged. Isn't that a long time to wait to wear a darn ring? :) I know it's worth it though, because the sales girl sounded even more excited than me. She was nearly at a loss for words to tell me how gorgeous it is, (she had never seen this particular style in person before) so if she thinks it's that awesome, and she sees tons of beautiful jewelry every day, it's going to be even better than I remember it!

And now, I don't even care I can't find my favorite 'business' outfit. . . black pinstripe pants with little turquoise stripes within the grey pinstripes and a turquoise cowl neck sweater. It's totally conservative yet modern and I feel very confident when I meet with customers when I wear it. I wore it to my final presentation for my class at the end of April. I didn't take it to the dry cleaner (I even called them to check), and it's not in the pile with the rest of the dry cleaning. I've scoured all the closets in the house. They seem to have just disappeared :(

Reappearing, however, are a lot of my old CDs. Well, not that they were lost, but they just sit in my CD case and don't necessarily come out to play. I had 'We're in this together' stuck in my head yesterday, so I went searching for the disc to play in lieu of watching TV last night. I forgot how much I love the entire CD (well, OK, really only the 'Left' disc, the 'Right' doesn't do much for me). So, this led to pulling out some other old favorites and reminiscing on what was happening when they were 'current' (seriously, how old am I that the NIN CD is 10 years old and I feel like it was just a year or two ago!). Good all the way around ;)

OK, now to REALLY pack some clothes for my trip (though now I don't care what my clothes look like as I'll only be staring at my ring!)


I am not so excited about the fact that I have a 6am flight tomorrow morning, but it is taking me back to Vermont. This is exciting for several reasons. . . first and foremost that this business trip just happens to coincide with my engagement ring being complete (June 5!) so I can pick it up while I'm there :) (Yes, after all that shopping, I just ordered it from the store in Vermont!) I haven't been back to Vermont since last August, so I'm really excited to see my friends again. The icing on the cake is we got Jake a frequent flier ticket to come up on Thursday and spend the weekend, since he hasn't been back to Vermont since we've moved South. There are several of my favorite shops I'm going to hit looking for wedding dresses, as well as a shop that specializes in 'real' vintage gowns, and I have an appointment on Saturday there with a few of my girlfriends. It should be fun! I'm taking Maude with me, and in an ideal world that would be enough time to finish it, but I'm not sure I'll really have that much time to knit other than when I'm in flight. I expect I won't be blogging while I'm gone. . . not that that will be much of a change since I haven't been the most prolific of bloggers recently!

I mentioned in my last post that we got a treat delivered from one of Jake's friends in Alaska, so here it is!

My friends, that is 40 lbs. of freshly processed Alaskan Snow Crab ('opies' if you watch Deadliest Catch). Jake's friend Damien moved to Alaska about the same time we came to Virginia to go work a crab boat. It worked out well for him, since Jake's sister lives in Anchorage he had a place to stay, though he isn't there often. Apparently, unlike what they show on TV, most of the guys that work the boats have to work nearly year 'round to hold their spots on the boat. Last summer Damien spent fishing salmon so he'd be assured a spot for King Crab season, which is apparently the most lucrative. Not that he's doing badly, apparently, he made more money last year than Jake did! Not bad for a kid who didn't finish his Associates Degree! He's a hard worker and loves to hunt and fish and stuff, though, so really this is right up his alley!

Anyway, when they come off the boat, they can buy crab for just $2/lb at the processing plant, so he sent this as a gift to us via UPS overnight (I imagine the shipping must cost as much as the darn crab did!). Now, our UPS man delivers around 3-3:30pm. We figured the crab would be dry ice packed, but as I watched the poor UPS man come out of the back of the truck with liquid coming down his leg, I was nervous I was getting bad crab! The poor guy, the plant actually packs with REGULAR ice! So most of the ice was melted, (though the crab was still frozen) and dripping from the cardboard box. I would have taken a picture of him, but he was not the happiest of campers of having cold water and (surely) crab juices on his legs and shorts!

The box was VERY wet, so while I tried to make room in the freezer for all the crab (no small feat - especially with the amount of poking those darn legs can do!) the pooches were enjoying licking everything from the floor that was seeping from the box. We've made a small dent in the crab, having a few legs for dinner Thursday and then again with some grilled steaks and a friend on Saturday. It is DELISH! :)