Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Lights, Camera...

My office is making a video to talk about stuff to do in DC. One of my co-workers roped me into going on camera. Ugh. All I had to say is two words, "Buffalo Billards," but we must have done 12 takes. And I didn't even put on lipstick!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Weekend highlights

Went to the Alexandria Farmer's Market. We were there early - 6:30am. I'm not even up that early on a regular day! Bought some yummy bread, fruits, vegetables, and lilacs.

Max at the Farmer's market

Practiced my driving while it was still early and there weren't too many cars on the road... in my neighborhood. Max says I'm getting better.

Went for a walk, ate a noseberry (that's what I used to call them when I was a kid). The first one was not quite ripe and really tart. The second one was just right.


We did go to the movies but didn't see any of the movies I had in mind. We went to see X-Men: The Last Stand. It was great. It's interesting seeing the kids grow up from one movie to the next. I can't believe how many characters were killed off. And knowing what I do (thanks Max) about the Phoenix Force, I was a little disappointed that they changed the very nature and entext of power so drastically from the comic book.

We also went to the gym. During our workout, Max starts talking to someone. At first, I figured it was someone he had worked with at AOL but then, no, he mentioned that he had worked at AOL... Hmmm.... So, despite my sweaty disheveled-ness, I went over to meet him. Turned out to be a friend of his from HKIS who he hasn't seen in 12 years. Who lives in our neighborhood. What are the chances?? I was just blown away.

Started working on something for my secret pal. Finished the MIL cardigan. Just need to weave in the ends and sew on the buttons. Not totally finished but if it were cold (and not, say, 93) then it could be worn to keep warm.

MIL cardigan MIL Cardigan

Booked our tickets for Peter's wedding. Less than a month 'til. Guess I better send back the RSVP postcard soon!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Don't speed this weekend

It's Memorial Day weekend and the cops are out in force in our area. Max got pulled over this morning at 6:15am (we went to the farmer's market in Alexandria) for doing 50 in a 35 zone - luckily he got off with a warning since there were only 5 other cars on the road (and three of them were cops).

Consider yourself warned!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Picking up

All week I've been putting off my knitting. I've reached the stage where I need to pick up stitches to knit the button band on my MIL's cardigan and, ugh. Does anyone ever think that's fun? No, I doubt it. But I started last night while Max and I watched the season's finale to House (thankfully I did, some parts were pretty graphic). So that's the plan for the weekend... finish picking up the stitches and knit the button band. If I need a break, I could always switch over to the rainbow scarf. I'm almost done with the second colour and will be happy to move onto the next, less intense orange. And maybe I'll even take some pictures!

Other possibilities for Memorial Day weekend:
  • Go to the movies to see Over the Hedge, Thank You for Smoking, or Stick it
  • Go to the gym
  • Go to the driving range to hit some golf balls
  • Practice driving the car around the neighborhood

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Noelle!

My sister's birthday is today - she's 25! Still young enough for a little fun.


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Wednesday, May 24, 2006


The weather is good. Work is steady but not busy. It's less than a month until my birthday. My vacation time is approved to attend Peter's wedding in July (just got the invitation last night) and Andy's wedding in August. Things are fine. Good even. So why do I feel so... blah?


Monday, May 22, 2006

Sleeves and suspense

I finished re-knitting the sleeves. The green line is where I ripped back to and starting the increases every other row (and then every 4th row) until it seemed wide enough. Definitely no science to it since I was too lazy to measure anything. Seamed the sleeves to both shoulders. And then the side seams - on one side. Would it fit? Oh, the suspense... it does! And enough give to fit a larger person (such as my MIL) as well.

IMG_0001.JPG IMG_0002.JPG

More suspense you ask? On Sunday, Max and I had lunch at the Olive Garden and went to see two movies... M:i:III and The DaVinci Code. Both were good. Really good, just in different ways.

The action was so fast, so engrossing, so explosive that I totally forgot that Tom Cruise was a freaky scientologist. It was just about Ethan Hawke, running, shouting, screaming, jumping, and shooting. Michelle Monaghan was good too. And it had Jonathan Rhys Meyers (he played the girl's soccer coach in Bend it Like Beckham). The suspense was like hanging off a bridge by your fingernails - in high wind and bombs exploding.

The Da Vinci Code
Tom Hanks was good but I still wish they had cast Harrison Ford. Ian McKellan was great as Sir Leigh Teabing. It was a surprise to see Paul Bettany as Silas but he pulled it off well. My only complaint was that he did not have the pink eyes of an albino. The suspense was higher but the action was... calmer than M:i:III and, to my delight, followed the book quite closely. Some of the best parts for me was actually getting to see all these places that Dan Brown had written about - Definitely go see it!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Congratulations on making Gryffindor!

i'm in gryffindor!
be sorted @

Basically, you're brave, daring, chivalrous, and pretty much.. an all around good person. Of course, some see you as a goodie-two-shoes. But hey, it's true! You're really good at winning, and normally always come out as the hero. Everybody likes you... except, maybe, the Slytherins. You're too perfect. No, really... You're too perfect. It's annoying to watch you win, repeatedly. Oh well. Be proud anyway.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Argh, another do-over

MIL cardigan

You probably can't tell, but the arms are not the right size. The length is right but they're not wide enough - for my arms at least (which, I suspect, are smaller than the MIL arms). So, another do-over. Thankfully not a COMPLETE do-over, as was the case with the Green Grass Sweater, just the arms. I'll probably rip them back at least half way and then increase like mad as I knit it back up.

This is what I get for substituting a different yarn and making other changes to the pattern without measuring my knitting along the way. Although, listening to Brenda Dayne's "Today's Sweater" from the 5/06/06 episode of Cast On, I don't feel so bad.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Paper bag poem*

Lived on Huron, just off of Bloor
those Victorian houses, shabby and weird
insides painted in so many colours
abhorrent shades
layers, and years, visible in the chips
not beige or bland
an electric blue bathroom with a silver radiator
shaky windows looking out to a school yard
rooftop to rooftop, sagging and sliding
the coach house press where once we spotted Michael Ondaatje
from the back with his crazy hair

*Written on a paper bag, a long time ago (probably before 2000)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

FO x 2

Kristina received her Green Grass Sweater yesterday and called me at lunch to tell me how much she liked it. Yeah! She promised to send a picture of her trying it. Here's some I took before I sent it off to her.

Green Grass Sweater Green Grass Sweater Green Grass Sweater

So that's one FO. The other FO (finished object) is my Patons Bella wrap. Just needs to be blocked. Very exciting.

And last night, I finally finished knitting all the parts of my MIL's bright red cardigan and sewed the shoulder seams. Much more remains before that one is done but the end is in sight. At least on the same page of instructions!

It's amazing... all year I've been moaning about how I haven't finished many items so far and then in one month, looks like there will be three. How does that happen?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Weeknight Date

It's sad that a date on a weeknight happens so infrequently that I feel the need to mark the occasion. Nevertheless... Max and I had dinner at home, creamy pesto spaghetti with roasted garlic bread. So totally yum! For dessert, we went to Cold Stone Creamery and shared a small bowl of Monkey Bites. Then we went to the movies to see Take the Lead. What a great movie! Antonio Banderas was so hot - I don't care if he's almost 50. I felt like dancing through most of the movie and would totally recommend it, especially if you've seen Mad Hot Ballroom. They're both based on the "dancing classroom" in New York started by Pierre Dulaine in 1994.

It was so nice to go out just the two of us!

Monday, May 08, 2006

MD Sheep & Wool

Yesterday, Erin and I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. The weather was great. There was so much yarn to look at and touch, sheep (MEH!) and goats and alpacas to see, contest winners' entries on display to look at, and so many yummy food smells. It was truly a festival, not just a fair. Talk about sensory overload! We had such a good time, bought some wonderful goodies, and by 2pm we had tired ourselves out. Lunch was beef hotdogs, french fries, and cotton candy. We both forgot our cameras so unfortunately, no pictures from yesterday. Here's a look at what I brought home:

Haul from Maryland Sheep and Wool

A close-up of the goodies:
Microfiber ribbon from from Maryland Sheep and Wool Boucle wool yarn from Maryland Sheep and Wool

I was thinking maybe a tank top for the silver microfiber ribbon and Bloom for the Big Loop yellow boucle yarn.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Something new

This week I finally finished the Green Grass Sweater. All to be revealed once it has been washed, dried, and mailed off to Kristina.

Of course then I had to start something new! Nevermind my other UFOs, though at least this new project did take care of one of those. I decided the Patons Bella Cardigan was a no go. It has become the Patons Bella Wrap. Based on this pattern:

Lace Wrap from Vogue Knitting Spring Summer 2005

And here's how it looks so far:

Patons Bella Wrap

In only two days, it's almost done. Extra bulky yarn on size 17 needles. Love it! Perfect for the office now that the A/C is on full blast.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Secret Pal 8 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Bamboo, cashmere, alpaca. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Itchy acrylic.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? Needle case and large tin

3. How long have you been knitting? Since December 2004. Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? Intermediate

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yes!

5. What's your favorite scent? Cinnamon apple, vanilla, and anything flowery

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Yes! Favorite candy? Snickers, jelly beans, Crunchie, Werther's, Payday

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? A little crochet, gardening, cooking, baking. Do you spin? No.

8. What kind of music do you like? Jewel, Bon Jovi, Goo Goo Dolls, Daniel Powter. Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? Yes.

9. What's your favorite color? Blue! Any colors you just can't stand? Bright pink, orange, lavender, and anything murky

10. What is your family situation? Married, no kids. Do you have any pets? Two cats.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Yes

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Hats

13. What are you knitting right now? Cardigan for my MIL. UFOs: shawl for myself, sweater for myself, socks for myself

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Either is fine. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Bamboo or wood.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? A small ball winder.

17. How did you learn to knit? My sister taught me.

18. How old is your oldest UFO? Almost a year old.

19. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas (or my birthday)

20. Is there anything that you collect? Other than yarn and knitting needles, not really...

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? Handknit Holidays, ebony or glass needles. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? None.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Knitting socks on double pointed needles, entrelac

23. Are you a sock knitter? Not really, still haven't finished my first pair. What are your foot measurements? Size 7

24. When is your birthday? June 18.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Erin and Simon came over for dinner on Saturday. We had the Heirloom Tomato Tart, Potato Salad with Dill, and Chocolate Fondue for dessert. We ate, Max and I told them about our trip to Berlin, and after dinner we played Uno and watched our wedding video. Tons of fun!


For black pepper parmesan pastry
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan or romano
1/2 teaspoon (freshly grated) black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For filling
3/4-1 lb fresh mozzarella (not unsalted), very thinly sliced
1/2 cup pesto
2 lb mixed heirloom tomatoes, sliced 3/4 inch thick

Special equipment: pie weights (or raw rice)

Make pastry the night before: Blend together flour, butter, shortening, parmesan, pepper, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size lumps. Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water over and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in food processor) until incorporated.
Gently squeeze a small handful: If it doesn't hold together without falling apart, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) after each addition until incorporated, continuing to test. (Do not overwork dough, or it will become tough.)

Turn out dough onto a work surface (and divide into 2 portions). With heel of your hand, smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather both portions of dough into 1 ball, then pat into a disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until more firm, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Roll out dough between two layers of plastic wrap (or on a lightly floured surface) into a 12-inch round and fit into a 9-inch round (tart) pan with a removable rim. (Roll rolling pin over top of pan to trim dough flush with rim.) Lightly prick tart shell all over with a fork.

Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights (or rice). Bake in middle of oven 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake until golden, about 15 minutes more. Cool in pan on a rack. Keep covered, at room temperature.

Black pepper parmesan pastry

Fill tart shell a few hours before dinner: (Remove side of pan and slide shell onto a platter.) Arrange one third of mozzarella in bottom of shell and spread one third of pesto over cheese. Arrange one third of tomato slices, overlapping, on top of cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat layering twice.

Gourmet July 2001