We had a light dusting of snow last night- barely 1/32 of an inch in my nieghborhood. The roads were completely clear.
Yet the university is apparently either delayed or cancelled all classes.
My birthday is in the first week of December, and it was frequently cold/snowy for my birthday growing up. By the time I turned 16, we hadn't had cold wintry weather on my birthday in years. My Mom had planned a big deal sweet-16 party, cooking for days and days before the big day. I jokingly said, "wouldn't it be great if we got a foot of snow for my birthday?" Sure enough, we got it. Of the 150 or so invited guests, only the neighbors were able to make it over.
We had LOTS of leftovers.
This Misty Garden scarf has turned out to be one of my favorite FOs- I wear it at least once or twice a week in cold weather. (I obviously didn't gift it as I thought I would when I posted the original FO!)
Green Gable is still moving along- about 3 inches away from the end of one sleeve, and then the other left to do. The sleeves are going so fast!
I also finished the body and half a sleeve on the green gables- sleeves are SO much faster than the body....
This spells DOOM for the diet. Maybe I should take it as a sign to cut back on my hours so I'm not in the office exposed to the mounds of unhealthy treats that will be arriving in the next month....
I'm still pessimistic about this sweater's potential for wearability. I know it's big enough, but is it too big? I'm working in Pakucho organic cotton purchased from elann a while back, and the Pakucho allegedly shrinks like Rowan Denim. Have I made the body long enough? Only time will tell....
I'm hoping to have this project wrapped up by mid-December so I can start on something more interesting after finals are over.
Towards the end, things got pretty ugly. I knew in March of that year that I was going to law school and would be quitting in July. She cornered me one day in late March to talk about "my future."
She confronted me about how miserable I was at work, and demanded an end game- what was I going to do to get myself out of this unhappy place?
Much to her surprise, my end game was clear- I was getting the hell out of there and going to law school, thankyouverymuch. I didn't plan on telling her until the absolute last second, but the conversation was so uncomfortable that I just spilled the beans.
WELL. She was pissed. And probably jealous, now that I think about it. But April, May, and June of that year were even worse than normal at work. This woman was a pain in the keister and would not leave me alone.
One day it was so bad that I got back to my desk after another lecture from her and was so frustrated that all I could do was write haiku about how much I disliked her.
Eventually the haiku became full blown sonnets- 14 lines, iambic pentameter, appropriate rhyming schemes, the whole nine yards. I found that the more restrictive the form and the more rules I had to follow, the more cathartic the results of my poetic efforts. I find that this set of rules makes for a wonderful release of negative energy, should you decide to sonnet your way out of a crappy day at work.
In no particular order:
- Falling asleep next to Mr. C every night for the rest of my life. He's a great sleeping partner.
- Having someone to go see movies with. C has great taste in movies (except the B-list horror flicks) and am really looking forward to having movie dates.
- The smell of his skin. It's sweet and wonderful and smells like home.
- Access to his incredible music collection. I love music, and have eclectic taste, but easily get stuck in ruts and don't know how to break out. C LOVES music, has impeccable taste, and at times appears to have music ADD- he blows from song to song and genre to genre so quickly it can be hard to keep up.
- Being a wife. Seriously. I'm looking forward to cooking. And making a home. And taking care of him, and letting him take care of me. I'm going to need to work on the letting him take care of me bit more than I want to admit.
While I am not 100%, I am probably back up around 90%, which is pretty darn good give how sick I've been since Friday.
When I find an author I like I buy everything they write. Eventually. Sometimes all at once. I was looking at my bookshelf and noticed some of my favorites.
This was going to be a single post about my various categories, but it's getting long and I'm just on Mark Bittman. Eventually I plan to expand this to talk about my cookbooks by Ina Garten and Nigella Lawson; my knitting books by Kaffe Fassett, Nancy Bush, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee; and my novels by Barbara Kingsolver, Dave Eggers, and Jane Austen.
Cookbooks: Mark Bittman
I love Mark Bittman. He's a columnist for the New York Times, writing as "The Minimalist." His whole approach to cooking is based on the premise that good recipes have two of the following: (i) a short ingredient list, (ii) a short instruction list, or (iii) a short cooking time. I took a cooking class with him when I lived in Austin, and I love him! So very New York- dry, no-nonsense, sophisticated and very casual/laid back all at the same time. I have most of his cookbooks. I don't own but would love to have his Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking and his Leafy Greens: An A-To-Z Guide to 30 Types of Greens Plus 200 Delicious Recipes.
I love the minimalist idea- very focused on letting good ingredients speak for themselves while keeping food very accessible to every day cooks. I LOVE his books because they provide a basic recipe- grilled chicken breasts, for example, then provide several variations, such as Mexican or Asian flavorings or how to dress the dish up for a special occasion. This is a fabulous way to learn how to really cook- master the basics, then get fancy.
If you only buy one Bittman book, it should be How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food. The slightly tongue in cheek title is not that far off- any time I need a random recipe I turn to this book first. It's like the Joy of Cooking or Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for our generation. I count on this book for fresh, fast, easy suggestions with plenty of room (and suggestions) for variations. The book introduces each chapter with an intro to the type of food (salads, for example) or main ingredient (beef- cuts, how to cook, how to chose, etc.) I can't tell you how much I've learned from this book!
The Best Recipes in the World is a similar book- huge, encyclopedic. Bittman focuses more on lesser-known cuisines, eschewing French and Italian for African/Asian/Latin American dishses that don't get much play in other international cookbooks. Again, Bittman pares the recipes down to their elements, and makes ingredients really accessible. Another great book.
Bittman has written a series of Minimalist cookbooks, all of which are fab. The Minimalist Cooks at Home: Recipes That Give You More Flavor from Fewer Ingredients in Less Time is the most basic- first in the series- and explains the basics of his approach, including excellent simple recipes. The Minimalist Cooks Dinner takes it a step further, with main dishes, salads, soups, sides, desserts... and The Minimalist Entertains contains seasonal menus based on a simple theme. These books are great because you can count on them for grouping ideas, variations, and simple but delicious food.
One of my favorite Bittman works is Simple to Spectacular: How to Take One Basic Recipe to Four Levels of Sophistication, co-written with Jean Georges Vongerichten (uber chef). Talk about a teaching aid! This book takes a basic recipe- scrambled eggs, for example- and then elevates the recipe to four additional levels of formality/dressiness. The scrambled egg section starts off with basic scrambled eggs- eggs, butter, salt, pepper. The next recipe adds tomato and basil to develop the flavor. The next recipe starts with basic scrambled eggs, but incorporates cream cheese, smoked salmon, and sorrel. Next is scrambled eggs with crispy potatoes and prosciutto. The section ends with Oefs au caviar- a formal dish of scrambled eggs cooked with lemon juice and vodka, served in their own shells and topped with caviar. The book really explains how chefs start with a simple idea, then ratchet up the presentation/ingredient list until they have something worthy of a Michelin star or two. And the book is so accessible- I can make this stuff. It's great.
Anyway, I'm a BIG Mark Bittman fan, in case you have't noticed. His writing is clear and easy to read, he brings a very realistic approach to tacking dinner, but retains some of the creativity that makes cooking fun.
In 2003, C bought a 1981 Jeep Scrambler on eBay. (His is white with a tan hardtop- doens't look nearly as redneck as the one in that picture...) The Jeep was in California, so he flew out there to pick it up, and drove back to Austin. On the way back, he stopped in the Conejos River Valley, where my family had rented a cabin for the weekend. It was the first time he met my family.
This picture was taken on the way home. That was a LOOOONG day--850 miles across west Texas in July in a 20+ year old jeep with mud tires and no air conditioning. I was deaf, sweaty, and exhausted when we got home. But we sure had a good time!
In June I thought about knitting a shawl or wrap for each of my bridesmaids, but people told me I was crazy. Then that same people suggested last week that I knit shawls for my bridesmaids, but there's just not enough time left. Besides which, even if I had started in June, that's a lot of lace knitting, especially given my utter lack of knitting time these days!
I love the huppahs people have knit as well, but we're our ceremony doesn't need one and I doubt that the church we're getting married in would allow it anyway.
I also thought about knitting an afghan or blanket or something for us to have at home after the wedding, but it would never be finished in time.
So no, I'm not knitting anything for the wedding. I might take my Birch shawl along for myself, since it will probably be chilly in the evening.
Still sick. Blech.
I finally picked bridesmaid dresses- we're getting them from Aria Bridesmaids in LA.
(This picture is from Lynn Lugo Bridesmaids- very similar style/color/fabric, but Aria is a lot less expensive.)
It's also time to order invitations. I think we're going with fairly traditional invites from Reaves Engraving. They do all of the engraving for Cranes, and their house papers are a lot less expensive.
Our photographer is Ginger Russell, who lives up in Santa Fe. I am so excited about working with her- I love her style and she is such a great personality fit.
The ceremony is going to be at the church I went to when I was in high school, the Cathedral Church of Saint John, and the reception will be at the Albuquerque Museum. We're using City Treats as our caterer- Stefani runs the Cafe at the museum, and she's FABULOUS.
Our DJ is Jim Gross at Carousel of Music (terrible website, but they come HIGHLY recommended from several people I trust), and we're using Melba as our florist (again, terrible website, but fabulous florist.)
Everything is really coming together. It's about time to meet with most of the vendors to get round 2 of planning started, but all the bones are in place.
Green Gables is on the needles. I'm probably about 2/3 of the way done with the body. It's going pretty well, and has become my primary knitting these days. I'm planning on adding long sleeves.
I'm terrified that it's going to be horrible. That it won't fit. That it'll make me look like a snowball.
And yet, I keep on knitting. I have flashes of optimism- maybe it won't stink! But mostly, I'm nervous.
How many sweaters did you have to make before you had sweater success?
IQ tends to write about events, restaurants, and happenings that are interesting to me- they've done pieces on all of my favorite downtown restaurants- Slate Street Cafe, Standard Diner, Relish (best sandwiches EVER), and a lot of other great finds as well.
If you haven't checked them out yet, I highly recommend doing so!
The demographics aren't earth-shattering, but I find the whole blog phenomenon fascinating. Check it out if you're curious!
The first workout of theirs I downloaded was a 20 minute treadmill workout with Grace, the founder. It was a bit disconcerting to hear her say, "looking good!" as I bumped up the speed- how does she know I'm looking good? I could be sitting on the couch -but I got over that. The cardio workouts make 20, 40, or 60 minutes on a cardio machine much more interesting by incorporating different speeds and resistance levels... Beats the pants off the pre-programmed options on the machines at the gym.
I am definitely not a workout guru- I'm a little chubby, a little clumsy, and not particularly dedicated. But I'm making it to the gym a lot more often and enjoying myself a lot more because these iTrain workouts make it more interesting!
I've got a draft of a paper due on Monday. The paper is for my Information Technology and the Law class. I'm writing on a somewhat related topic- now that every Joe Blow has a blog/podcast/Flickr/YouTube account, what intellectual property rules apply to their blitherings? I'm writing specifically about copyright protection and the Creative Commons licensing scheme.
Since I'm *supposed* to be writing a paper, I'll sign of and get back to it. I do plan on sharing a condensed version here- something for those of us with a blog to think about!
Apparently one of her readers is irked:
"An anonymous reader has announced that s/he will no longer be reading this blog because 'the narrative arc has stalled.'"
What the heck does that mean?
I like the author's post in response, but it makes me think about blogging and what it means and why I do it.
I blog because I think it's funny. I treat it like the paper journal I can never find that I feel I should be filling with deep intimate secrets. It's a place where I can dump whatever happens to be on my mind. It's a way for me to record my knitting hobby and to connect with like minded fiber addicts. I know it's silly. I don't pretend to have anything useful to say, much less anything entertaining, important, instructive, or anything else. I do this for me and I like that.
I find it fascinating that someone stops reading a personal blog because "the narrative arc has stalled." Why does this person think he's entitled to a narrative arc from this blogger? It's not like she's writing for his entertainment. People don't have narrative arcs, people have lives. Those lives usually involve jobs, relationships, stressors... Most people are not professional writers who live to chronicle their narrative arcs for the entertainment of anonymous blog readers. Life gets in the way. The reality of blogging for most of us is that there just isn't a narrative arc. Really, do lives have narrative arcs? I don't think they do. People live, stuff happens, but is it "narrative"? Yes, you can get in a funk or be on top of the world, but is that "stalling" of the narrative arc?
I also find it fascinating that someone who wants to stop reading because "the narrative arc has stalled" feels the need to tell the writer. Who does this guy think he is? Why does he think the writer will care that he has stopped reading? Especially for such an inane reason? What purpose has this notice served, other than giving me something to write about? People are so weird.
I cast on for the socks, and totally messed up the figure 8 cast on I was using. Had to rip. Have ripped 4 more times.
My Aunt requested a Birch in black when she saw my blue one over the summer, but... Black KidSilk Haze? Impossible. Can't see anything. I cast on and knit two rows, then put it down, and the yarn ripped when I picked it back up- completely disconnected from the ball.
Annoying little stuff. I know I'll get back in the groove of things soon, but right now it's knit funk for me.
I'm finally using my Greenwood Fiber Works cotton and elastic sock yarn in blue (click here to see the results of the dye job I did....)
WHAT GREAT YARN! It's super soft, super stretchy, and knits at a surprisingly fine gauge. If you have hot-feeted people in your life but love to knit socks, this may be the answer. I'm counting on that being the case, at any rate....
Again, I can't stress how fabulous Greenwood Fiber Works was to work with- so fast and so professional. Check them out!
* The one project that counts is Green Gable, and it appears to be going well. The project that doesn't count is the Clap, which I hate. I'm making it out of Brooks Fiber mohair in a blue/tan combo, which I also hate. I know! It's so sad! The yarn was so seductive in the skien at Taos Wool Festival last year, but I really dislike working with this stuff. It's splitty, slippery, and just unpleasant. And I forgot to drop one of the stitches a good 10 rows back, and this yarn does NOT rip out, and I'm not sure how to fix it. So bad color + bad behavior + bad knitting = time out for the Clap. Sigh.