Friday, March 31, 2006

Thank you Carole Sturgeon!
Thank you Passport Canada!

My new passport arrived! Processed in 7 working days, it's like a miracle - and what a relief. Carole Sturgeon was the name on the FedEx envelope and so I am assuming it is because of her heroic efforts that I have my passport sooner than I ever thought possible. I'd like to thank my guarantor for signing all the necessary assurances. I'd like to thank Kristina and Darren for being my references... whatever you guys said, it was just right. I'd like to thank Brook at Moto Photo for the horrible but correctly-sized passport photo. And I'd like to thank Max who has had to live with me throughout this sleep-deprived anxiety-ridden time, and all my friends and family who tried to reassure me that everything would be alright and that my passport would arrive in time for my trip to Germany.

Berlin, here I come! In 12 days. :)

Please God don't let me be forgetting anything else.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Finished Green Grass

The knitting part anyway. Here's a finished sleeve:
Green sleeve

Here's the back:
ridge turned and seamed
Look at that turned hem! Learning new stuff all over the place. With any luck, I should be completely done next week and ready to send it off to Georgia.

Passport update? Nothing but waiting. Sigh with me people. Tuesday will be two weeks since they received the application. That's the very minimum according to Passport Canada. And only if they're really motivated and I have no idea if they are or not. At least tomorrow is Friday!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Totally Me...

Slow and Steady

Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy.

They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder.

It'd really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment.

They expect you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then usually decide against it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Random stuff

The Green Grass Sweater is coming along. The sleeves are 13" long from the turning ridge. Almost done!

In other news... I went running after work last night. It was more of a walk-jog-walk-run but I was out there for 20 minutes. Listened to two episodes of Quirky Nomads and Araby by James Joyce (downloaded from iTunes for free).

Tonight I'm going to the optometrist to get my eyes checked so he can tell me that I need a stronger prescription and new glasses. It's only been one year but I can tell. When I wear my glasses, I have to squint to read the text on TV. I remember last year when I wore my new prescription glasses to the movies for the first time, I asked Max, "Why is the screen so grainy?" He just laughed. I guess blurry = smooth. :)

At this moment, I'm listening to "Light My Candle" from RENT on my iPod.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Le sourire

Alex, Natalia and MaxAlex, Natalia, Max, me, and BriannaBrianna and SlavAlex and Natalia

What you can't hear is the annoyingly LOUD chanting "MAY-SON! MAY-SON! MAY-SON! MAY-SON! MAY-SON! MAY-SON!" If you've ever wondered why I don't like watching sports, now you know. Le sourire? It is for the camera.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Busy Weekend

Tonight Max and I are having dinner in DC with some friends at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. Today is Eunice's birthday and so tomorrow we're taking her rock climbing at Sport Rock and having dinner at our house to celebrate. I'll be making Cinnamon-Spiced Moroccan Chicken and brown rice for dinner, sour cream banana bars for dessert.

Sunday will truly be a day of rest because we're going to need it!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Irish Beef Stew

I made this on Sunday in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Max and I have had it for dinner every night this week. There were a few alterations to the recipe, which I will incorporate below.

Irish Beef Stew

Irish Beef Stew

1/4 cup vegetable or tea oil
2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups beef or chicken stock or broth
1 small can tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons butter
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cups carrots, scrubbed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper as desired

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and parsley. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a really large pot or wok over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 1 hour. Taste. Add salt and pepper as desired. Discard bay leaves. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer stew to serving bowl and heat up in the microwave. Serve with crusty bread.

Bon Appétit, March 2001
Fidel Murphy’s Irish Pub, Grand Cayman

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Green Sleeves

Green sleeves

Probably 1/4 or 1/3 done. It's knitting up very quickly with this yarn. I fear the finishing though. It's going to be a lot of seaming... four for the turned hems, two for the shoulders, two to attach the sleeves to the main body, two for the sweater sides, and two for the sleeves. That's twelve. If I do it right the first time! :) Luckily there aren't any pockets.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Too busy freaking out

There was no knitting this weekend... almost anyway. I spent the majority of the weekend freaking out about the whole passport thing and not getting much sleep or exercise. I knit about 4 rows of the front of the Green Grass Sweater - just enough to bind off and be done with the front! Woo hoo!

On Sunday, I went to Knit Happens and bought some beautiful wonderful yarn. There was a 15% off sale to celebrate its 2 year anniversary. I was hoping that buying yarn would make me feel better, and it did - but only temporarily... still, my first purchase of Debbie Bliss yarn and in Cashmerino Astrakhan no less. I've been wanting this for months now. Six balls should make something very nice... one day!

Today I sent in my passport application. Now, I wait.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


My passport has expired. It takes at least 20 business days to get a new one. I may not be able to go to Germany! There is no breathing calmly.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My great grandmother was Irish. Her last name was Fitzpatrick. So that makes me 1/8th Irish! Definitely not enough to be drinking Guiness or green beer but enough for dinner in Old Town Alexandria... maybe at Pat Troy's Ireland's Own's Restaurant and Pub or Murphy's Irish Pub? Or, maybe it's enough that I'm wearing green today!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

How Normal Are You?

You Are 75% Normal

(Really Normal)

Otherwise known as the normal amount of normal

You're like most people most of the time

But you've got those quirks that make you endearing

You're unique, yes... but not frighteningly so!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Weeknight date in Canada

Instead of going home after work last night, I went out! Met Max at work and we had dinner at Elephant & Castle: Pub and Restaurant. What a great place! I love the atmosphere and the food was REALLY good. I had the Steak & Mushroom Pie. Max and I shared the Big Ben Brownie for dessert. Everything was very yummy.

We then went to the Canadian Embassy for the Opening Reception of Seascapes - Exhibition by Canadian artist Jérôme Fortin. For me, it was so cool to be in Canada for the evening. The embassy in DC is impressive. The art was interesting and very cool. According to the pamphlet:
Fortin "chooses trivial, banal and common place items such as corks, bottle lids, keys or publications. Their colours, forms, textures, and volumes suggest the flowers, seashells, jewellery, and amulets once collected by the curious for their exotic flavour."
The artist and his wife were there to explain and describe the process. My Dad would have loved it! The art was lot like some of the things my Dad makes in his workshop. I didn't bring my camera but there are tons of pictures on the artist's website.

We made it home on time to take the last shuttle bus. I was able to knit a few rows of the Green Grass sweater and mark where the armhole begins before bed. I'm almost done the front!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A simple, classic purse

Here's my new Aurielle-Carryland purse:

IMG_0001.JPG IMG_0002.JPG

I tried looking online but I couldn't find the same one anywhere. If you want one for yourself and can find it in stores, it comes in black, brown, or navy blue. And only $40!

The faux pewter kitty hook was a present from my parents. We also have this on the wall for our keys

Monday, March 13, 2006

Green Grass Sweater

Here's the progress from Wednesday to Sunday.
Green Grass Sweater Green Grass Sweater Green Grass Sweater

The back is finished and the front has been started. You can see the waist shaping and the pin on the right marking where the arm will go once it has been done.

Green Grass Sweater

Thankfully it has been going much quicker than I thought it would! I love the green. It's the perfect March colour to be knitting. All other knitting has been set aside so there's not too much else to report.

I finally bought a new purse. It's black leather, something I can use everyday and take to work, not too big or too small, simple lines, no contrast stitching, lots of pockets in the lining, and zippers close. Nothing "fashionable!" You won't believe how long it took to find something so simple and classic. Hours.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Spring is here!

Perhaps only for today and the rest of the weekend but spring is here! The low today is 51 and the high is 70. Which means I could leave the house without a jacket (and I did). Might even be able to eat my lunch outside. I'm aghast that the temperatures in Berlin are still snowy... the low at 28 and the high only 34. Hopefully it will be warmer in a month.

As for my Green Grass sweater, it's coming along well. I finished the turned hem on the back of the sweater Wednesday. Last night I finished the decreases and started the increases for the waist shaping. Already I have about 8" of knitting, size 9 needles seem to make things go quicker. The colour is really nice and the fabric is soft. I think it will be very pretty. Pictures to follow!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Public Transportation

As I was walking home yesterday, I heard a man say to someone, on his cellphone, that he was on his way to the "L" and my first thought was, "He's not from around here." But then it got me thinking... what you call the subway says alot about where you're from. I know that this guy is from Chicago and he is either travelling on business or has just moved here. When I lived in Toronto, I took the subway. Then I moved to Boston and it was the "T." Now that I live in the DC area, I call it the Metro. Perhaps one day we'll move to London and I can ride the "Tube!"

The Wikipedia article on rapid transit speaks to this, "There is no single term in English that all speakers would use for all rapid transit or metro systems." In fact, there's a whole other article that lists all the rapid transit systems around the world.

Max getting on the T in Boston

Here's a picture of Max in Boston from last year. Tell me, what do you call the public transportation in your city? Extra points if you've lived in more than one place with a subway or have travelled and know the local term for it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

International Women's Day (IWD)

March 8th commemorates women's rights and peace. According to Wikipedia, Internation Women's Day "is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women... it is an official holiday in Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine, and is observed by men giving the women in their lives - mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc., flowers and small gifts."

1857: Women from clothing and textile factories in New York protested what they saw as very poor working conditions and low wages.

1908: 15,000 women marched through New York demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

1917: Women's Day founders Klara Zetkin and Aleksandra Kollontai took part in the most famous International Women's Day strike "for bread and peace" led by Russian women in St. Petersburg.

1996: Mayor of Ottawa declares March 8 to be Alanis Morissette Day but she refused to accept this honor because March 8 was already International Women's Day.

Green Grass has arrived!

Not a reference to spring because in Virginia the grass has been green all winter. Nope, I just received my shipment of yarn from Herrschners!!

= IMG_0015.JPG

The yarn is Red Heart Soft Green Grass #4412. The top pictured is from a scan of a photocopy from Vogue Knitting Magazine, a pattern designed by Joan Vass.

It will be a birthday present for my BFF, Kristina. She's in grad school studying to be a landscape architecture and usually too busy to check my blog so it will probably still be a surprise when she gets it. As the yarn has just arrive yet, I'll be cutting it damn close if I'm going to get it to her by April 12. I'll be casting on tonight and only knitting this project until it is done. Cross your fingers for me and wish me luck!!

Monday, March 06, 2006


Friday night we ordered Chinese take-out for dinner, I made a martini for myself, watched TV, and I did some knitting. That night I had the best dream... I was at the ISB reunion, but we were all at the University of Madison (I know this because I saw my friend Ray Hsu there). We were all on this grassy hill and when I looked around I could see all these people from my class... Anthony, Charles, Darren, Angela, Donald... and we were just hanging out together and talking, eating in the cafeteria. When I woke up, I had the happiest feeling. So of course I had to wake up Max (at 4am) to tell him. :) Then I went back to sleep.

Saturday, I got up before Max and baked a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie from Schmecks Pies & Tarts by Edna Staebler, we watched some cartoons during breakfast, went to the gym, and had a fabulous evening with Erin and Simon. Dinner was great, I got the whole "Buy Netflix" speech, saw their wedding video, and we all had tons of laughs afterwards watching the type of things that show up on Web Junk 20, and I got to borrow Erin's copy of Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter.

Sunday, I got up before Max again and made some homemade granola, we watched some more cartoons during breakfast, I practiced my driving and then we went to the gym, had dinner for lunch, went out for coffee and sat around reading our books at Cameron Perks, watched some TV (only a little Oscars) and I did some knitting. I cast off the left side of the MIL cardigan and I'm working on the right side. After this piece is done, the rest is finishing... sewing seams, knitting the ribbing for the pockets and button bands. There's yarn on the way for Kristina's birthday present and I'm just hoping I can get a major part of the cardigan done before I start something else, again.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My iPod is famous

Chosen for the cover shoot for an article in HR News.

iPods at work hit a sour note for some employers
By Kathy Gurchiek

Some employers see no problem with workers listening to personal music players in the office. Others are beginning to express concerns, however.

Playing is "Another Postcard" by The Barenaked Ladies.

iPod on HR News