Friday, April 28, 2006
Thursday, April 27, 2006
A Sense of Humor Still Exists in the Legal Community
Even if you haven't read The Da Vinci Code, you've probably heard about the recent law suit against author Dan Brown alleging plagiarism. The Court issued a ruling in favor of Mr. Brown, and in the Court's ruling, the Judge may have hidden his own code within the opinion. Click here to read more about this clever Judge.
Still on the Domestic Track
Guess who’s back on the domestic track? Okay, you guessed it. I made fish last night. I was going to attempt the Italian Fish recipe Janet posted in the comments but I was too intimidated, and wanted to try something a little easier for my first time cooking fish. So, I tried salmon with teriyaki sauce. I’m in love with salmon in teriyaki sauce, thanks to Vade who introduced it to me. Now, whenever it’s a special occasion (or not even), Vade makes my favorite meals, including salmon in teriyaki sauce. I know I will never make it as good as Vade, but I took a stab at it anyway and it went pretty well. Here’s how I did it:
1) First I preheated the over to 450 degrees. Sounds high, but that’s what Noah told me to do (he’s one of many cooking references, and thank goodness for the internet).
2) Second, I washed the fish cause it smelled, well, fishy. One thing I wasn’t happy about was that this salmon was farm raised, with color added, and it’s the only thing the grocery store had. I haven’t made it to buying fish at the seafood market or Whole Foods yet, so this is what I got. Oh, and let’s just hope that good fish fits into the frugal mind set. Cause y’all know I’m trying to be frugal, you know, with no job in C’ville and all. Okay, trying to stay on the topic at hand.
3) Once I washed the fish with water, I greased the bottom of the glass baking dish with olive oil. I then placed the salmon in the dish and poured the teriyaki sauce on the fish (no Soy Vay – grocery store was out of it). We have a lot of nifty cooking utensils because Dad was an awesome chef and I thought this paintbrush thingy could help spread the sauce all around the fish. Guess what? It worked.
4) Once the oven was preheated, I put the fish in the oven for 15 minutes, and sat on the couch waiting for the timer to go off while I read The Da Vinci Code (amazing book, couldn’t put it down, that’s a post for another time). Once the 15 minutes had passed, I went to check on the fish. I have a problem with undercooked food that was once alive. It may be due to my recent bout with the stomach flu and the following ER visit, but I am terrified that I am going to get sick from eating undercooked meat (or in this case, fish). I prodded around the fish with my fork, and it was still looking a tad bit red for my taste. Back in the oven it went for another 14 minutes (checking on it once in a while). Once I felt comfortable that the fish was cooked, I took it out, made this pretty plate (with my very crunchy green beans to compliment the meal), and went to town. It was pretty good.
So, what did I learn?
1) This meal is easy to make.
2) I will make this meal many times in my lifetime.
3) Invest in a good piece of fish. It’s worth it.
4) Cooking is not scary.
5) Planning is essential to cooking dinner every night. Though it was easy, I should try to plan my week of meals before I go to the grocery store so I don’t have to go shopping every night I want to make dinner.
6) I hate doing the dishes. As we speak, the glass pan is soaking in the sink.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
A Splash of Clutter
With the impending move, I’ve been decluttering the house as much as time will allow. Having moved at least every year, for the past nine years, enough is enough. In addition to physical mental stress of getting everything packed in time, there’s the physical strain of moving furniture and boxes. Not only do I have to much crap, but I’m going to have to move it all.
One of the many things that I love about Noah (and believe you me, there are many) is his passion for sustainable design. This includes the ability to take a piece of what looks like trash and transform it into something functional. Fort Greene in Brooklyn is just the setting for this skill, with Pratt Institute just down the street, people coming and going, artists living and working. Noah finds the greatest treasures, masked as trash and makes beautiful things. For instance, he found tall skinny glass bottles and turned them into the stand for a bedside table. He also found a light blue winged rocking chair, covered in rotting fabric, which he stripped and sanded, revealing the comfort of the chair, perfect for our new house. As we were packing his apartment this weekend, I was amazed with how many objects he had found and turned into something beautiful. Of course, there were many objects still lying around, containing the possibility of transformation, but it just hasn’t happened yet.
After packing for the majority of the morning, with most of his room boxed up and moved downstairs, Noah commented how much he valued a clean, simple, minimalist environment in which to live. Of course, I wholeheartedly agreed. His once cluttered room was in fact extremely peaceful, and not just because of the sound of the rain on a Saturday afternoon, but because it wasn’t filled to capacity, vying for our attention at all angles. It reminded me of the idea that clutter causes stress. Not the kind of stress over making a deadline, or running late for a meeting, but the kind of subtle stress, that isn’t immediately apparent, but that creeps in over time. You don’t notice it until the cause of it is gone, but when it is gone, you notice an apparent weight lifted.
All these thoughts come together, as I’m sure you’re seeing now. I want our home to be simple, minimalist, spacious, yet cozy. We’ve are very excited for our home together, starting this new chapter in our life, and many of our discussions turn to what will go where, and how will we set up this room, and what color we want this. But, one thing is for sure, I’ll be spending the next few months getting rid of the clutter in my own home, so as not to bring it to our new home.
Some of the tricks I’ve been using:
1) Carry around a trash bag with you until you’ve collected 27 things to throw away. It’s amazing what you find as you flutter from room to room.
2) Set a timer for 15 minutes and do the same thing with the trash bag, but instead of finding 27 things, throw away clutter for 15 minutes.
3) Clean out your closet. This can be a very daunting task. However, consider what happened to Mom. A few nights ago, we were cleaning out her closet, collecting clothes for the consignment shop, and the bar that holds up her clothes actually fell. While this could be seen as the worst thing in the world for a woman’s closet, not only did we take this occurrence as a sign that Mom has too many clothes, but also as an opportunity to go through the clothes, cause they very well couldn’t stay on the floor.
4) Which brings me to my next trick – find a local consignment shop taking spring and summer clothes, make an appointment to bring in the clothes and then go find clothes to bring in. By making an appointment before you’ve actually gathered up the clothes, you will be forced to go through the closet before the appointment, as opposed to putting it off until you have enough. Also, it helps when you find a consignment shop near work cause you can go on your lunch break to drop off your clothes.
5) Also, the making-an-appointment-in-advance technique works with the Salvation Army. In the Baltimore-DC Metro area, the Salvation Army will come by with a truck to pick up your donations. Not only are the donations tax-deductible, but you don’t have to drive around with the donations in your car until you have time to drop them off. Just leave them on the front porch and the truck comes to pick them up. You don’t even need to be home (just make sure it won’t rain that day). And again, make the appointment now so you have a deadline by which to get the donations together.
6) For every two you keep, get rid of one. This technique works well with clothes and shoes. Also, I have so many clothes that they won’t fit in my closet and dressers that they have to be folded and put on the floor. This is unacceptable!
7) Check out Freecycle.com – This is a site where you can list your unwanted items and someone comes to get them. It’s all for free and you are benefiting others with the gift of your unwanted things.
I’m trying to use one of these techniques a day to start blasting through all the clutter I have sprinkled around the house. Now, let’s just hope these techniques don’t hurt my yarn stash.
Friday, April 21, 2006
I didn’t get to cook the fish dinner last night or the night before, but don’t worry, I have a good reason for not following through (and don't worry again, I'm not abandoning my journey of learning to cook). Look what I got in the mail:
Sorry, there’s no pic with the Scunci Steamer in the box, because I ripped it open as soon as I could get my hands on it. I was just so excited to block the scarves I had sitting in my “Finished Items But Not Yet Blocked” drawer that I went to town.
I’ve only heard about using this great steamer for blocking but wasn’t exactly sure the correct method, and you know me, being all anal-retentive and all, I like specific directions. But I threw that anal-retentiveness to the wayside, and after reading the directions the Scunci Steamer manufacturers included, I got busy. As I was steaming the first white scarf, I pinned it to the towel, as I went along. And, it was pretty easy. Nothing to it, just steam and pin (or pin and steam, as I had to do with the purple scarf because it was really curly on the sides). Since we don’t have an extra bed for me to pin them to, I just used a towel on the floor, which seems to be working well. It was hard to maneuver around the room, but I’ve worked in tighter spaces. So, now the scarves just sit and dry. Last night, I unpinned the white scarf to see the results, and though it was 80% better in terms of being flat, there was still some curling action. I decided to block it from the other side of the scarf, to see if it would help the curling. I’ll have to finish the purple scarf when I get back on Sunday. Since I’m going to Brooklyn this weekend to help Noah pack, I’m keeping the scarves pinned to the floor all weekend, and then I know they’ll be ready when I get back (except for the other end of the purple scarf of course). Okay, going in to too much boring detail…I’ll stop now.
For some reason, I can't post the other pics in this posting so you can see above that there is one picture of the scarves after the first blocking, and there's also a picture of the white scarf after I unpinned it 24 hours later
I’ve got to say I felt a little guilty spending the 40 dollars for this item, considering that I’m trying to be frugal in order to make a dent in those student loans, and shift gears as we start a new chapter in Charlottesville. However, I once read a piece of advice that helps me decide whether or not to purchase something. If you will use that item the number of times for every dollar it costs, then it’s worth it. Applying this rationale to the steamer, it costs a total of 40 dollars, so if I use it 40 times in my lifetime, then it’s worth it. And people, I used it once on Wednesday, but on two different scarves, and once again on the white scarf last night. Heck, that’s pretty good, and I still have scarves waiting to be blocked, so I’m getting more comfortable with my investment.
Also, I’ve found that the steamer is great for steaming clothes when you don’t need an iron (or if you’re like me, just too lazy to get the ironing board out). As I was packing for New York last night, I decided I wanted to wear this white skirt on Saturday night as we celebrate Noah’s last week in Brooklyn and his move to Charlottesville. However, the skirt had been in my summer bin, all smooshed up (I love the word “smooshed”). So, I put the steamer to the skirt and VOILA, no more wrinkles. Damn, I love this thing. Who would’ve thought I could get so excited about a steamer? Okay, maybe there are people out there that could imagine that.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The Domestic Track
On Sunday, I officially started my journey of learning to cook. I’ve never really liked to cook, not because of the actual cooking part of it, but because of the aftermath – the clean-up. I hate doing dishes, especially when I’m cooking for myself and have to clean-up, all by myself. When we move to Charlottesville, Noah will be super busy with building all sorts of things for school, and from what I’ve heard, I will not see him very often. One thing, of many, that I look forward to is cooking him dinner and having it ready when he comes home. So, I started on Sunday with cooking pasta in tomato sauce with garlic bread (not cooking the bread in the pasta of course). I had also bought some green beans but Mom informed me that green beans don’t go to well with pasta. What do I know? So last night, I made chicken with green beans and again, garlic bread. Could I be any more predictable? Chicken is very hard to make well. I usually manage to dry it out when cooking breasts in a pan (chicken breasts that is…) I sprinkled some fresh garlic, lemon pepper and lemon juice on the chicken and it came out pretty well, not too dry. If I had more time, I would’ve cooked it at a lower temperature for longer, on the assumption that maybe it wouldn’t dry out. That’s just a guess though. Let me tell you folks, I have no idea how to cook anything, and everything I do know about cooking I’ve learned from Noah. You’d think with a father who was a fantastic cook that I would have it in my genes or something, but it definitely skipped me completely. My sister has the gene…Dad and she used to talk all about recipes and such, but I just liked to help in the kitchen. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but it was a way for Dad and I to spend time together. And Mom? Well, boiling water can be a challenge (no offense Mom). One time, Dad asked Mom to grab some lettuce from the grocery store, and she came home with cabbage. I mean, we are talking about severely challenged in the cooking department. So, I’ve begun the journey. However, I think I should start with some recipes or something, because cooking haphazardly without any direction is not a good place to start for someone who is completely neurotic about getting everything just right. But, we’ll see. I’m taking the night off tonight due to other plans, but I’m thinking of cooking some fish tomorrow. Nothing fancy, just something to get a little protein in our blood. I'm all about the protein. Any suggestions?
Monday, April 17, 2006
Just wanted to let everyone know that there is a knitting show on the DIY (do it yourself) Network. It's called Knitty Gritty, and it shows how to do a different project every episode. Also, and perhaps more importantly, it posts all of its patterns online. The website also includes video clips for the more complicated parts of the patterns in case you need to see it before you can do it. Here's the website: http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/shows_dkng/
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Mock Cable Sock
I've only finished the first sock, but I just thought I'd share :-)
The pictures didn't come out too well for some reason, but you get the idea. This pattern was super easy and super quick. I started this sock on Sunday, ignored it Monday, worked on it Tuesday, and finished it on Wednesday. This might sound like a lot, but I didn't have time to work on it for very long each day, so really, it could have been finished in one day, I think. As always, if anyone wants the pattern, let me know and I'll send it on over.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Felted Messenger Bag
I absolutely cannot believe that I finished this and it turned out so well!!! I am so super excited (in case you can't tell). Honestly, it really was not very difficult and it did not take very long to do. I actually thought that the most frustrating parts of it were waiting for my yarn from knitpicks and then waiting for the bag to dry after felting it. It took about 2-3 days for it to completely dry, and I had to change the towels it was on every few hours because they kept soaking through. The pattern for it is on knitty.com and it's called "satchel."
It's worked mostly in the round on size 13 circular needles. One small part of it calls for size 13 dpns, but I didn't have them and I was able to use straight needles in combination with the circular and that worked just fine. Because the needles are so big and the yarn is double stranded, it knits up very quickly, and any mistakes that you might make are hidden by the felting. I highly recommend that you all try it. This bag is for Kiran, but I like it so much, I think I'm going to make one for myself in different colors.
New Knitty is Up
New Spring edition of Knitty is up.
Here are two skeins of yarn that Janet brought me back from Australia. The dark one of the left actually smells like a sheep. Fresh off the sheep my friend. Now, I just have to figure out what I'm going to make with these beauties.
Here are two balls of Australia yarn that Janet also gave me. I'm going to use these to make wrist warmers. It's hard to see in the picture, but this yarn is speckled, which makes it very natural looking. It's also much more orange-y in color.
Many bloggers, especially knitting bloggers, put pictures of their beloved pets. I don't have any pets, but I love Beans. Here is Beans sticking up her tush while eating one of her treats. Here comes Yoga Doggy!
When Janet and Vade were in Australia, Beans came to keep me company in Maryland. Beans loved to take walks and here she is, strutting her cute tush at the park.
Here is my favorite recent picture: Noah and Beans snuggling. Beans lives for her pets and rubs.
Capelet Complete...But Too Small
I finished the red capelet last night, but I think it's too small. I would rip it out and make it bigger, if only I knew how. Maybe if I block the heck out of it, it will stretch a little. It's not that it's too tight, it just looks really tiny on me. Okay, is that a contradiction or what??
In other knitting news, I went to my LYS looking for a thicker bright pink mohair yarn for the drop stitch scarf that I had begun. I was surprised because instead of trying to sell me another yarn, they gave me the great suggestions of just doubling the pink mohair I already had, assuring me that I had tons of yardage to last through the scarf. When I store doesn't attempt to make you buy more but to make do with what you've got, the store definitely gets my respect. Here's how the scarf is looking, now that I've doubled the mohair:
Got to get back to work, but I'll post a few more pics later of some Australian presents. What is everyone else working on?
Friday, April 07, 2006
I’m really into this whole "plan your project" idea. From finding a pattern that you really like, to picking the yarn for that particular pattern, making sure you know how to do what the pattern requires and that you have all the right needles and such, I’m really getting into this. Here is one of the products of my planning skills.
I found this capelet here (which by the way you have to check out because there are some really creative and talented folks out there who are willing to share patterns and ideas in the name of creative craftsters). The pattern called for Rowan Polar in an off-white-ish color. Of course, Rowan Polar has been discontinued but I had one ball of Rowan Polar in a different color, leftover from when I knitted my friend Sam a scarf for her birthday. However, the pattern called for two balls so I called my LYS, where I had originally bought this yarn, and they had another ball in the same color. Yay! I got another ball (hee hee). I had the pattern, I had the needles, I had the yarn, and I had me a good time making this capelet. As you can see, I’ve used some scrap yarn to hold the stitches on the sleeves and a bad attempt to use a circular needle on the sleeve, which of course, any semi-experienced knitter would know was not going to work cause the needle was just too darn long. So, when I was ready to finish the sleeves, the pattern called for the use of straight needles again and then seam up the sleeves. One thing I hate is seaming. I don’t like the way it looks. This could be because I’m not a good seamer and I’m not doing it right, but I like knitting things that have as few seams as possible. It looks much more polished. I went back to my LYS and asked the very nice woman there if I could knit the rest of the sleeves with dpns as opposed to straight needles and she affirmed my idea. The pattern only called for straight needles cause it’s easier, but I’m feel just fine about using dpns, so I bought me some size 11 dpns and that’s where I am now. Just got to finish the sleeves, weave in the ends and then do a little blocking.
Ah, blocking, not so good at that. That’s where the planning ends. I can’t tell you how many projects I have that are "almost" finished except for the blocking, or the felting. I’m so not good with all the finishing techniques. But, that’s a story for another time.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
There is a whole ring of blogs dedicated to lawyers who knit. And I thought I was the only one. Okay, not really.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Something to Think About
On Wednesday, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.
That won't ever happen again.
And on a completely different note, the April Issue of Magknits is up.