30 November 2009

The Kissing Hand

We just bought our tickets to Geneva; the day of the move is nigh. (Well... maybe not nigh, but six weeks from now sure seems soon.) This move emotionally reminds me of when I moved to New York all those years ago. These moves are different from the others some how. When I first moved out of my parent's house at the ripe old age of 18 it wasn't a huge deal. I wanted to prove I could be independent and, well, they would only be like a half hour drive away, so it wasn't such a huge life change. Moving to Chicago was an awesome excuse to get away from the harpy of an advisor I had on Long Island. I still like to go back to visit New York, but in terms of living there at the time, I could not get away fast enough. San Francisco is more like a holding pattern. We don't really 'live' here. I have no bills that come here, no lease, nothing to even take to the DMV to get my license changed even if I wanted to. We have some friends here, so it is not too lonely, but bottom line- we are only here for 4 months.

Which brings me to the move to Geneva and why it is so like my past move to NY: my whole life is going to change. I will be leaving my country for at least a few years. I will be a resident alien in a foreign land. What brand of dish soap will I be buying? Will my tea kettle work with just a converter or do I need to use the transformer too? How on earth am I going to tell the hairdresser what sort of cut I want. It is not like 'I would like long layers' is something that routinely came up in french class that I have a good handle on. Luckily we have some friends there. Luckily my French is pretty good. Luckily I have a job interview already set up (send good vibes please). And luckily there are some expat bars and a knitting group around so that if it gets to be too much I can seek sanctuary there. But it still feels like that trip to NY. That build up. That sense of shock- a combination of excitement and fear. I have six weeks to go, lets hope it doesn't get worse. I survived the trip to NY and actually came out better for it. All will be well and my sister will still be my rock even though I am miles away.

Just to reminisce a bit though.

My sister came with me on my trip to the east coast. We drove a ton, stopped in shady hotels, saw the Statue of Liberty, and did the obligatory Target run (oh no! how will I run to Target in Geneva for those new house accessories?). Anyways. By the time we got to NY and had the house sort of set up with my clothes and air mattress, it was almost ready for her to leave. I did pretty well being calm while taking her to the airport. When I got home though, the sense of loss really hit home. The end of an era. I was alone in my apartment, alone except for a book. The book was the Kissing Hand. My parents had bought it for me and my sister had cunningly hid it in my room before she left. I was really sad to read it there all alone. In a different state. In a different time zone. With different people. With different stores. After a few weeks I got my routine set. After a few months I had a good friend set. After a while I really had fun. So with this chapter that is about to begin, I just have to remember that it will take some time, but new adventures are always scary, but many are well worth it in the end.

20 November 2009

Hot Thermos, repaired laptop

They are seriously not kidding when they say that a thermos stainless steel vacuum container will keep your tea hot. I put some hot tea in my new fashion mug at 1pm today. I just poured myself some more tea (4:30 pm) and it is too hot to drink. Which is good because I needed some tea after my iBook crashed for the second time in 2 days. My Mac never crashes, that is why I bought a Mac in the first place. It looks like some permissions were wrong. This has now been fixed and I hope it starts behaving better. Not too shabby for a laptop that is over the hill at 6 years old.

In knitting news... I have no photos yet, but you can find in progress shots on ravelry: frenchkitten is my ID. The Manon cardigan is done and looks pretty great if I do say so myself. The second baby book is blocking and I am transitioning to working on socks and my never finished Babette blanket full time. There are 2 more months until I leave for Geneva and I promised myself I would put a concerted effort towards all the projects languishing on my needles. So far so good.

19 November 2009



That is the name of my cooking show that I have yet to star in. The Captain came up with the name after eating several dishes I concocted out of ingredients I found in the fridge. Maybe I shall never be on Food Network, but I can at least get some great recipes amassed.

Tonight's dish was inspired by the cauliflower and dinosaur kale I got at the farmer's market. I put tofu in this dish. If you ever wanted to experiment with tofu, this is a good dish to do it with because it is really masked by all of the other flavors. If you are tofu averse, however, it should be just as good with chicken.

1 head cauliflower (med sized)
1 bunch dinosaur kale chopped
1/2 package of extra firm tofu
1/2 lb fusili pasta
~5 oz soft italian cheese (mine had truffles in it- quite tasty) shredded
~1/2 cup pecans
olive oil
2 cloves garlic
small bunch of fresh sage

Preheat oven to 350 F

Boil pasta, drain, and set aside. Make a pesto by grinding the garlic, pecans, sage, and enough olive oil to form a paste in a food processor. Cut tofu into 1/4 cubes and pan fry in about 2 tbsp olive oil until golden brown. Cut cauliflower into about 1 in pieces and put into pan with tofu once brown. Add about 3 tbsp of the pesto mixture to the pan and mix well to help the cauliflower cook a bit. Sautee together and add the kale after 5 min. Keep cooking until kale is slightly wilted. Add about 3 tbsp water and cover to help the process along.

In a large bowl, mix the pasta, veggie mixture, and 1/2 of the cheese. Put into a baking pan. 8 x 10 or so should be fine, 11 x 13 is probably a bit too big. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for about 10 min, just to get the cheese bubbly- we are not looking for a crust or anything here.

Bon Appetit.

08 October 2009


I had gotten a job as a tutor for math and science when we got to San Francisco. Alas, I have yet to have any students. So, in an effort to use my skills for more things than cooking and knitting, I am trying to do some volunteer work. The first museum I applied to was all full up due to summer students. Luckily some further poking on the web landed me at a website for another science museum- pretty cool. I have submitted my application and hopefully they can find a spot for me. I am more hopeful this time; the coordinator already got back to me and said she was looking for a spot for me. Yay. I think working full time in a museum would be great, so this could be one baby step towards that goal.

07 October 2009

I know I promised...

A post about our trip westward. However, we seem to have misplaced the cord that connects the computer to the camera, so all of my photos are held hostage. I kept thinking that I would get the pics off of the Captain's computer (since he can read the memory card), but well... we can all see how well that plan has worked so far. Suffice to say that I am just going to opt for text in lieu of pictures for a while (with the exception of the random crappy cell phone footage). So far Cali has been good. We got to see a few old friends, Shakespeare in the Park, and went to a dinner theatre. I love old vaudeville style shows, especially when you get to eat good food while watching. This weekend we plan to head on over to Yosemite state park with the Captain's sister who is flying in for the occasion.

Last night we had our first dinner party here. This was comical, but quite successful. Comical in the sense that we are renting a furnished apartment from someone who does not cook, so making moussaka and baklava was like being on Survivor: kitchen. I think I am probably becoming a better chef because of the improvising I am having to do because of the lack of my 'usual' pots and utensils. I had never make baklava before (ok, I bought the phyllo pre-made), but it was a rousing success. They ate it all. Like way more dessert than I thought a person could put down in one sitting.

I am enjoying taking some time off. I am looking for jobs in Geneva, but mostly focusing on playing my guitar (which I stink at) and finishing up some knitting projects that have been in stall mode for quite some time. I purposefully brought only these projects to Cali so that I would have to finish them up before I start on the kagillion other things I want to knit.
First is my Sheherazade stole. It is officially half way done. I really like this project, but working the combination of mohair and really really thin yarn means that I can only work on this for so long in one sitting. I am going to try and finish up one more present for another pregger friend before I take out my provisional cast on and start knitting the other side.

The Babette blanket is also 50% done. It is a small lap blanket (just for curling under on the couch), so it seems like not too much work. All the color changes, seaming, and weaving in ends makes this quite the task though. I only have 2 out of the 10 sections left to crochet, but these are the biggest sections and therefore in terms of area I am just past the half way mark. I am starting to worry that I am going to run out of yarn, but I shall blissfully keep going and decide what to do about that later.

10 September 2009

The trek westward

We are now comfortably located in our new sublet in Pacific Heights (San Francisco). It was quite the journey getting here- a journey I intend to take you (dear reader) on in the coming posts. Before we had a chance to go to the wedding, before the movers came, before even my last day of work we were in a car accident. We are all ok, which is quite surprising considering we thought we were going to die. No really... they did a Mythbusters episode on this- I think it was episode 80- totally crazy.
So we were driving home at about 9pm one night before our big weekend (I think it was Wednesday) and were coming up to our left exit off the highway for Oak Park. All of a sudden we see a big Semi truck wheel fly through the air from the other side of the highway towards us. Since it was so dark it took a while to register what it was. And no, not just the little flimsy rubber tire part, but the rims and all were hurtling towards us at about 60 mph. Luckily the Captain slammed on the breaks- we were probably only doing 20mph by the time the wheel bounced on the road in front of us, skidded across our hood, smashed in the windshield, bounced off the roof, and headed for its final resting place of I have no idea where. The car behind us had just enough time to pass us on the shoulder before the shoulder ran out. We were still moving; we had not had time to come to a stop yet. By this time we are basically on the exit ramp.

The Captain had about 4 inches of windshield to see out of at the bottom left, so we threw the hazards on and made our way the last mile home. There really was no good place to pull over and hardly any traffic, so it seemed sensible at the time. There was glass everywhere. You can't see this from the front view, but the windshield in caved in towards the cabin a good 6 inches in the middle. All I could think of as I was crouching down with my hands on my head bracing for impact was 'I saw a Mythbusters about this. I guess we are going to die now.' Surprisingly there was no life flashing in front of my eyes, no stress, just the fact of death. Strange that. Anyways, we are not dead, but fine in Northern California. Geico was super nice and helpful and got us a rental car by the next morning. They fixed up the car good as new with no hassle on our end. Way to go Geico.

I have to say that having to drive cross country just a few days later was a bit much. Luckily I-80 has little to no cars on it most of the time, but it was a stressful week. I am happy to report that now we are in San Francisco I have not had to drive since Saturday and I love it. I wish I could say the same for the Captain. He still has to drive to work everyday, but he seems to be holding up better than I am anyways, which is ironic since he was the one driving! Peace and love to everyone and new days ahead.

26 July 2009

Childhood memories gone wrong

It is sad when one's childhood memory of something gets tarnished by reality. I have been eating organic yogurt for years. We were in the store last night just getting a few things, when I saw some yoplait whipped yogurt sitting on the shelf. I remembered having it as a kid and thought I would buy two for old times sake. This morning, while waiting for my banana bread to bake, I thought I would try one as a snack. This was a bad idea. Right away I noticed that the texture was really weird. It was like overly fluffy, not like whipped, but foamy. Then was the taste. It was cloyingly sweet and tasted more of strawberry jolly rancher than strawberry jam. It was so gross I had to stop eating it. Why oh why had this happened. What went wrong with my yoplait? It is not a dollar store brand and should be pretty legit- no? Then I read the label. Staring at me from the not so dark recesses of SECOND INGREDIENT. Yep. You guessed it. High Fructose Corn Syrup. I suppose one could say that it is not a childhood memory gone wrong, because most likely it did not contain HFCS when I was a kid. I mean, even Coca Cola did not start using HFCS until 1985 (I was 6 then). So when you think that the products you consume have always been this way- they haven't. It is amazing to me, though, that having removed HFCS from my diet almost completely, when I am faced with it somehow my body throws a red flag.

In better food news, we got to try out our new mini fryer and food grinder the other night. We ground about 3 pounds of chuck steak for hamburgers. There is a marked difference between a coarse ground steak burger and a regular hamburger. Delish! The grinder was gifted to us by mom and dad and uses the motor from my kitchenaid stand mixer to work. I felt a bit like Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd. I kept chanting 'Benjamin Barker' to the Captain. I think he was amused and mildly disturbed by this at the same time.
The mini fryer was also a wedding gift. I love this thing because it only uses 1Qt of oil, takes up very little counter space, and has a carbon filter on the top to cut the smell of the smoke. We don't fry stuff too often, but when we want to make pommes frites Belgian style (which is the proper way) it is nice to have. I would probably make beignets more often when guests come over now that I have temperature control. Frying french doughnuts in a tiny pan with a candy thermometer takes over an hour- not good when hungry guests are chomping at the bit.

23 July 2009

Wedding bells have come and gone

The wedding is over, but boy was it fun! It was so nice to see all of our friends and family together again. The beach luau was surely a success and I hope to find some good pics to show off. Right now I am nursing a cold, so I just popped in to say hello briefly. This weekend we are off to the Renaissance faire (as long as I get better that is).

03 July 2009

Spring Cleaning

Today is the day that the super dooper spring cleaning begins. Since the small family ceremony for our wedding is going to be held in our living room (I said it was small), it needs to be in top shape. It is a long and tiring battle, but I think I will win. The living room is almost done. I have vacuumed each couch and chair cushion individually and on both sides, vacuumed even the inside of the sleeper sofa. I have cleaned more dust in more random cracks that nobody ever sees than I really thought possible. All that is left is tidying the coffee table and oil soaping the wood floors. There is the dreaded rug cleaning, but I need the Captain for that and he is currently lost in thesis land right now. Hopefully the other three rooms won't be so tiring. My one bit of anxiety is that I am going to get this super clean this weekend only for it to get dirty again before the festivities next week. Here is to hoping.

In other news, I have just about finished my first baby gift of the season. I have 4 friends that are preggers right now. I don't know if I can get hand knit gifts for all of them (I am going to try) but at least one of them is in the bag. I don't want to divulge the surprise right now (since we are not shipping stuff off until next month) but I only have 600 more stitches, weaving, and blocking left. Yay.

02 July 2009

One more week

Ok, I know it has been a while since I have posted, but I have been drowning in wedding plans and science paper writing. Two weeks ago we had my bachelorette party. It was great. The girls and the moms (mine and his) came over and we had chalupas and margaritas for dinner. After opening gifts of the naughty variety, we played a game. My sister had emailed The Captain a bunch of questions- like 'what is your favorite childhood memory? What is your pet peeve?' He gave her all the answers and I was quizzed! For each answer I got wrong I had to put a piece of double bubble in my mouth. There were like 2 pages of questions; I only missed 8 answers but that was still a lot of gum in the mouth!

After I regained my speaking ability, we hopped on the El and headed to a Drag Show (all in matching pink shirts made by Muffy.) I had never seen live female impersonators before, but it was a hoot. From there we went to karaoke in Lincoln Park. This karaoke place is the best because each group gets their own private room, so you don't have to deal with weirdos (except for the ones in your own group- ha ha). We were rocking out all the great tunes we could when the boys crashed the party. The men folk threw the Captain a bachelor party at a friends house and they all came to join us later in the evening. It was a super way to end the night- everyone together.

Now we have one week to go and everything is coming together so nicely. For all my talk about not having a big wedding, we may not have numbers, but it will be an event! I am so glad that it has turned out the way it has. I think all of the family got to add their own touch to it and it is perfect.

-The soon to be Mrs. Captain

04 June 2009

Dr. Tiller

Just wanted to give a shout of support for the family of Dr. Tiller- may he rest in peace. I hope that others will come forward and pick up where he left off. Reading the stories of the women he helped makes me happy and angry at the same time. I am happy that in these women's time of need (mostly women who desperately wanted a child, but whose foetus was terminally ill) there was someone who had the courage to help. I am angry about the lies which have been spread and the frenzy that it has created. I know that education and social help are the best ways to avoid the need for many procedures, but there is no way to control for late term diseases and fatal conditions. It makes me sad that one of the few who held a hand out to these women is now gone. Who is going to help the next mother?

01 June 2009

40 days and counting

The message in a bottle invitations have been sent. My dress is being hemmed. The song list is being compiled and the photographer is ready. I think we are doing pretty well for being 40 days out. My mom is coming to town this weekend to help me pick out centerpieces for the tables and make something for my hair. So far this has been pretty stress free (I say almost because there was the JOP incident).

Right now we are listening to some Billie Holiday. The first hour of the reception is going to be full of cocktails and jazz. I hope my mom remembers to bring her Dean Martin CD. We have opted not to have a DJ and instead set the music up ourselves. So far so good. We are certainly up for music suggestions though.

08 May 2009

I am a biking beast

So, last Saturday was the wedding shower for my friend L. LusciousLuka hosted the shower and all was set to go down at 3pm. Plenty of time right? So in the morning the Captain and I had some breakfast and I started baking crackers for the party. After about an hour I realized that something was wrong and they were not rising. It was 10:30 at this point, so we decided to bike the mile to Whole Foods and get some backup brownies. I outfitted my bike with my new green panniers and myself with my new clipless bike shoes. I had been practicing a bit strapping myself onto the bike, but was still afraid of splatting onto the road. This was the first morning that I went out with both feet secured to the pedals. So far so good.

We loaded up the bags and biked back home. By this time it was 12:30. I had planned to bike to the subway, take the El, and bike to Luka's place since it was only 2 miles total riding time and only 30 min on the train. The car would have taken 20 minutes, so this seemed like a great plan. Of course, this is Chicago, and there is always some sort of incident with the El. I left at 12:45 so that I could get to the house by 1:30 and take a shower in plenty of time for guests to get there at 3.

Well... Firstly I had never taken my bike on the subway. I got to a 'mini' station that had no guard, just turnstiles. I made the mistaken decision to raise my bike vertically and try to go through the turnstile- big mistake. I got stuck. I wanted to both laugh and cry thinking that the Captain would have to come and save me from the metal contraptions evil clutches. Luckily for me, you can go backwards through the turnstile with no problems. I biked around a bit more to try and find a normal station. Two blocks away- great. I am still pretty much on time. I got on the El just before 1pm and it was supposed to be smooth sailing into the Loop and up to Logan Square. Just then- Oh noes! The Blue Line is closed from the Loop up to Western. Well I was supposed to get off at California (which is the stop after Western) so basically the rest of my ride is gone.

I briefly debated biking from the Loop to Logan Square, but after calling a much stressed out Luka, and realizing that I have no GPS, I decided to attempt riding a bus with a bike. Luckily the bus driver was much nicer than any other Chitown driver I have had, so he walked me through the proper procedure to get my bike on the rack. Of course I am only 5' tall, so that makes lifting your bike onto a bus rack much more difficult for me and comical for the people on the street. I put my bike in backwards the first time and had to redo it as more people filed onto the bus. By this time it is 1:20. Ok, I can still make it yes? Let us not discuss how sweaty I am at this point (due to lifting a bike more that I thought necessary and the fact that my jersey does not breathe) and how desperately I need a shower before greeting people.

The bus finally nears Western after being in traffic for 40 minutes. Of course I know the directions to get from California to her house, not Western, so I had to phone the Captain to direct me. According to Google maps I really only need to be on one road. That road dead ends and splits near Luka's house, but that was the part of the directions I knew, so I should have been fine no? Wrong. Google maps lied to my honey. The road dead ends, disappears, and reappears about 5 times before it even gets to the split which I knew about. I was biking down alleys, avoiding traffic, biking through mud and potholes all while trying to keep track of where this magically changing road was going. I almost lost hope at one point when I merged onto the giant road Milwaukee Ave. Just then... what is that I see... why it is the California Blue line stop. I knew where I was now horrah. Only one more mile to go. (I had gone about 2 miles so far from the bus to here). I had no idea what time it was, but that I was surely late. I rounded the corner, ready to make my made dash through that last mile when the wind kicked up. I had a huge headwind this late in the game. Honestly. That was ridiculous. I was biking through dirty puddles and sweating up a storm when I finally made it to the house. Just in time to see the Bride and Groom pull up. Oh no! It was only 2:30. I technically still had time, but everyone was early!

The Bride and Groom drove around the block a bit. Many guests had already arrived, so I hustled through the hall to the shower. Oh that felt so nice. I was battered and bruised, but I think they might notice the wet hair more than the bruises, so that was ok. We finally settled into the party and ended up having a nice time. The best part of the whole day (besides learning to put my bike through the El stop and on the bus) was my bike shoes. I was so lost, so nervous about being late, and all around focused on my current predicament that I did not even realize that I had ridden all that way and done all that craziness with my feet strapped to my pedals. I didn't have time to worry about splatting on the road, so now I am a biking beast.

21 April 2009

I got my ring!!

Sorry for the blurry camera phone pictures, but I can't seem to find our real camera. It is exactly the size and shape and color and everything that I wanted. Pretty darn classy if I do say so myself.The camera really refused to play well for the side view, but you should get the general idea. From here you can see the cathedral setting. Faintly visible through the blur is the circular diamond set directly under the base of the princess cut stone. There is another one on the opposite side of the ring. Such a nice subtle detail, which makes this ring pretty unique. I am super happy with it and it was well worth the wait. Thanks Captain!!

07 April 2009

Oh phooey

I have not knit a thing in a week. Today during lunch I decided to work on my scarf from my first WoolGirl club shipment. I am really behind on this project and the next yarn ships in 3 weeks- oh no! Much to my chagrin, I pulled the needles out of my new knitting bag and one of the tips was gone. Now these are interchangeable needles, but the tip did not come unscrewed- the screw was still there, but the bamboo part was separate from the screw. Luckily we had some epoxy at work and it is reassembled and drying for now, but I am really sad about these needles. I may have to start slowly buying the Harmony interchangeables to replace the defective ones. I wish the new Addi clicks came in wood or bamboo because I would buy those in a heartbeat. For now I shall just have to make due with frankenneedles.

Love conquers all

I would just like to send out a word of thanks to the states of Vermont and Iowa who have boldly chosen to join the ranks of Connecticut and Massachusetts to legalize gay marriage. I know that there may be amendments and the like that crop up (though that seems unlikely in Iowa at the moment) but I hope they can stay strong. We are up to 4 out of 50 now- can we go for 5?

I believe that our world and our time needs as much love as we can get. Since my wedding is coming up soon, I am glad that some of my friends are one step closer to being allowed to say I do themselves. C'mon Illinois- I know you can do it.

31 March 2009

The Cheerio Story

So for those who have asked, here is the Cheerio Story. The Captain and I spent some much needed vacation time in the Bahamas. I thought we were vacationing to A) avoid the frigid Chicago transition from winter to spring and B) to celebrate my 30th birthday. That is a big milestone you know and a trip to the beach sounded like a good way to celebrate.

We packed our bags and headed to the airport at an ungodly hour (3:30 am to be exact). Unfortunately at 3:30am it seems like a good idea to put most of your stuff into the big duffel bag to check. Carry on is always easier, if possible, but those pesky bottles of sunscreen were foiling our attempts to fly without baggage (ba-dum-cha!) Anyways... the fog was thick flying into Charlotte, North Carolina. We circled the airport for about an hour before our pilot made the wise decision to land in Greensboro instead and refuel (fuel is good). By the time we got more fuel, waited for the airport to open up again from the fog closure, and headed on our way back to Charlotte we had only 15 minutes to run from our current gate to the departure gate.

Needless to say, our bag did not make it to Freeport, Grand Bahama. I spent the first night and the better part of the second day wearing a sweater, khaki pants and flip flops. I looked quite out of place in a beach resort, but the people in town were still happy to have me shop and everyone commented on my hat, which I got from the Captain's Maman when she was in Argentina.

By Friday, we finally had our stuff and we were off to the beach. I think my new bathing togs are quite retro looking- just what I wanted! We spent the next few days relaxing on the beach (when the sun was out) and chilling in the hot tub (when the sun hid behind a cloud). As Saturday drew to a close, we knew that Sunday was our last full day to do fun stuff. The Captain suggested that we get up super early to watch the sunrise on the beach. Heaven knows I love my beauty rest, but since the Captain was so nice to take me on this trip, I thought the least I could do was wake up early one day.

Sunday morning we woke before the sun, grabbed various and sundry towel like items, and headed for the shore. We wrapped ourselves in warmth and tried to surmise where the sun would actually rise. We picked a spot and eagerly waited for the sky to brighten. The clouds were heavy and low, so as the sky grew bluer, we still were waiting for the glowing orb to arrive. The Captain started getting up, so I figured that maybe we missed the sun and we were going back in. But then he stopped by my chair and started fishing in his pocket- what on earth was he doing? Then he said, (I paraphrase of course) 'I tried to go to like 7 jewelry stores, but they didn't have anything in a size 3.5, so for now you get a Cheerio. Will you marry me?' Folks, I was shocked! I just sat there looking like a Cod. I asked 'are you serious?, is this for real?' I was so surprised. I sat there in shock for about 5 minutes. I was so happy I couldn't even go back to sleep. Of course once I got over the initial excitement, we looked over to see the sun blazing in it's glory right where we thought it would be.

I now present to you the future Dr. Captain. Nothing says love like whole grain. We have now gone to an impeccable local jeweler, Stanley Brown Jewelist and picked out a cheerio replacement. This store has been in business since 1912 and I highly recommend it to anyone in the Chicago area. I will post picks once it gets back from sizing and assembly.

The Cav

The Captain and I sold the Cavalier last night. It was a good car- the first one I ever bought actually. It got me through grad school safe and sound. It was in remarkably good shape considering where it has been and how many miles were on it (over 140K I do believe). I felt a bit weird having to call the insurance company to cancel the policy since I have been with them for so long. Now I need to get transferred to the Captain's policy. Now if we could just work it so we could get rid of the Toyota as well. It is super reliable, mind you, but maybe one day...

I am happy that the dream of being car free just got one step closer to coming true.

10 March 2009


I should really know better than to look up guitar tab for songs I love that happen to be sad songs. All this is going to lead to is hours and hours of learning beautifully sad songs so I can then spend hours and hours playing them for myself and singing through my tears. The song Hallelujiah by Leonard Cohen. Go check it out here (don't worry... I will wait). I love the cover by Rufus Wainwright; even better than the Jeff Buckley version, though that one is damn good. Rufus is just so visceral.

For those who don't know the song references a bunch of relationships in the Bible- Bathsheba, Sampson, King David. It is about broken and messy love still being a Hallelujiah. It is about the struggle between the romantic and the spiritual. About the crazy things that you will do for love. About how you can love someone so much it hurts.

I decided that I really want this CD. Then it occurred to me. (sorry I am listening to it on repeat.) Since everyone had a really hard time thinking of what to get me for my 30th b-day and since I am terrible with coming up with a list on short notice, I am posting a list on my side column. That way I am still surprised and everyone is happy :-)

08 March 2009

Honey in Italy

My honey is in Italy skiing the Alps this week. The week after he gets back we get to go to the Bahamas- yeah! Luckily that leaves me some time to practice my new guitar and try to get into some sort of shape before I put on a bathing suit. I am adding weight training to my weekly yoga schedule to tone up a bit. I know it is probably a lost cause, but I am at least trying. I did crunches, curls, squats, and leg lifts with 4 lb weights while listening to a stand-up routine by Russel Brand. I can't tell if he is trying to channel Eddie Izzard or not. Tony is always really fascinated when I work out. Downward facing dog makes him really excited. I think he can't figure out why I am holding myself upside down, lowering myself to the floor, and going upside down again. He runs from my feet to my head and sometimes tries to jump on me or crawl under my yoga mat. He is crazy.

As for the guitar. I wish I could post a photo, but I didn't get around to taking one before the camera flew to the Alps, so you will have to wait. For now here is an official photo from the Cordoba site. It is a Cordoba Dolce and I love it. It is a nylon string guitar, which works great for me since after 15 years of trying to play properly I am just not a strummer. I love to fingerpick and nothing sounds better fingerpicked than a nylon string. I have also busted out my old classical guitar textbook, found an online metronome, and have started working on my technique. The technique practice is boring, but I think it is important. The fretboard is rosewood, which gives it a really comfortable grip and warm tone. The color of the guitar is almost copper. Warm and shiny. It even came with its own case. It is a soft case, but not a gig bag- i.e., it has backpack straps, but is heavily padded not just 'a bag'. This turns out to be not only great financially, but sanity-wise as well because I have no idea how I would find a normal case for a 7/8 size guitar. Oh yeah- this guitar is petite just like me. Hopefully in a few months I will get some tunes up here so you can take a listen at how good it sounds.

I also got my first ever sock club package, but that post is for another day.

23 February 2009

Zelda Marie

I have finally managed to figure out how to get photos from my Windows-based phone onto my Mac computer. This photo is old, but adorable. This is Zelda Marie my new Boxer puppy (which lives with my parents). She is about two months old in this photo and I am sure she has grown a ton since then. I will have to have my mom send some new photos soon.

11 February 2009

Bahamas, bikes, and chicken feet

In 25 days the Captain and I will be jetting off to the Bahamas for my 30th birthday (belated). I can't wait. I could really use some beach weather after the months of freezing Chicago weather. This weekend I am going to get a new summer haircut and hopefully some new bathing togs. I want to see if I can find some vintage or vintage like duds. Something Bettie Page would have worn.
It was a bit warmer here the past few days than it has been. I was hoping to start training for the 25 mile bike ride we are going on this summer. I have new bike shoes (courtesy of the Captain) that I need to learn how to use. 17 miles is my longest ride ever, so I have to add quite a bit to that. I have a new saddle which should help. I also got some panniers from the folks that I need to try out. Maybe a trip to the farmer's market is in store.
As to the chicken feet. We went to dim sum on Sunday with a bunch of friends. Dim Sum is quite and experience in and of itself. Luckily we had a girl with us who spoke the correct language. I have no idea what we would have done without her. We got one order of chicken feet just to try. They were not bad... The sauce was very nice and the flavor was good. The feet are squishy- not crispy or tough like I had imagined. The biggest annoyance was the number of little tiny bones. I felt like it took me 10 minutes to get all of the bones out of my mouth. So, I wouldn't order them again, but if I was served them at a dinner for some reason I would probably eat them. It doesn't hurt to try it once.

31 January 2009

Sock Club Ahoy!

My my. This has been an exciting week. The weather keeps flirting with the idea that 8 degrees F is not an acceptable temperature and maybe, just maybe it likes the idea of spring coming soon. We are still mired in 20-30 degree weather now, but I will take any temperature increase I can get.
Since the weather was a bit better, we ventured out this morning instead of hibernating indoors. The winter farmer's market in our neighborhood was quaint (in the 'it was small' sense of the word). We got some mango salsa, dried chantrelle mushrooms, ground beef, and some yummy cheese. I was hoping to get there by bike instead of car (since I wanted to use my new panniers), but the Captain had un torticolli (that is your french word of the day) and therefore could not turn his head well enough to check for cars, so we drove. From there we sauntered over to Chix with Stix to get buttons for my new hat. I really like this hat. It is the Robin's Egg Blue Hat knitted in Noro Iro. This was done in just 2 days and the wool/silk blend is really luxurious. If you want to knit this hat, I suggest adding two stitches before you do the decreases. That way you will have 70 stitches to go around and thus will get an even number of decrease divisions starting with K8, k2tog all the way around. (And yes, those are Christmas decorations still up. We got rid of the tree, but it seems me always leave at least something up until my birthday every year.)
The biggest news of the week though was a double whammy. I got a raise at work (yeah!) and the Captain suggested that I use the first month's raise amount to get myself something nice. I thought that this was an excellent idea, so I started poking around the interwebs for ideas. It did not take me long to decide on the Woolgirl sock club. I am so excited! I have always wanted to join a sock club, but since the up front cost is steep I had always just had it in the back of my mind as a 'someday' thing to do. But now someday is today! I can't wait 'till February for my first shipment. Of course, this means that I need to get the singleton sock (which is currently hogging my most precious ebony sock stix) and his mate finished before my new sock yarn arrives.

27 January 2009

Pretty in Pink

I have been working on my Scheherazade stole for almost a year now. It is a beautiful pattern and I have been remiss to keep it in an unfinished state for so long. This stole has been to Texas, New York, Tennessee, and Poland. You would think that a stole this well traveled would have something more than '1/3 of the way done' to show for itself. I hope that the picture here shows up well enough on your monitor to demonstrate its beauty. I promise to finish this by 2009. I must.

I did manage to quickly knit a pair of fingerless mitts for the winter season. These took me only a couple of days, but have been worn 5 times already. They are the wine and roses mitts from the winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. I love this issue. I have already knit the Equestrian Blazer from this issue and plan to one day make the Nantucket Jacket for my mom.

20 January 2009

New Year, New President, New Blog Layout

I hope y'all like the sassy new blog layout. I felt it was time for a fresh start. Let me know what you think.

Today we usher in the 44th president of the United States. I found the moment inspiring and uplifting. I believe that American's can rise above our troubles, that we can pull ourselves out of the mire of economic depressions, surmount people who do not want peace, and embrace our fellow humans to bring about a better tomorrow. I am hopeful for what we can become and where we can go. I know that it will not be perfect. I know that every choice which is made may not be something I agree with. But I have to think that hope and love are the greatest things of all.

I would also like to say a few words about our 43rd president, George Bush. I voted for him the first time. It was my first election. I was new and naive. I didn't research as much as I should have. Four years later I realized that he was not the choice for me and I voted for the loosing party. I have not agreed with him much over the past eight years, but he was our president. I respect him for the office he held and I respect him as a person. I genuinely believe he did what he thought was best with the information presented to him. Though I think he was wrong on many accounts, I don't think he is a bad man.

So, good luck to you President Bush wherever your life takes you. And good luck to our new President Obama. This is the first election I have truly been an active participant in. I hope for the environment, I hope for a bright future for science, and I hope for the longevity of our great nation. I also send hope to our troops that they may be the best they can be until they return safely home. Thank you to the veterans and the volunteers; to the teachers and the parents. Our message going forward has changed from 'yes we can' to


14 January 2009


My resolution for 2009 (not a strict resolution, more like guidelines) is to get into shape. The Captain is taking me to Nicaragua for my 30th birthday, so I want to actually be beach ready for one time in my life. I have my google calendar all set up to track my fitness. I got a late start this month because of the flood and sinus infection resulting from said flood. Apparently your body does not like it when you stand in freezing water for an hour (Oy!) Last night (against protestations from my rear that likes to stay firmly seated on the couch) I did 30 min of yoga. Tony finds yoga highly amusing. If I move to the right- he follows me. He sniffs my feet and hands. Then I move left and he runs to the other side to investigate. He has still not learned the asana sequence which transitions from downward facing dog to upward facing dog. He runs under me during down dog and then has to high-tail it when I start the transition to my belly. Of course as soon as I am back to down dog he is right under me again. I suppose I get an extra work out holding poses mid air to avoid a ferret collision.

Since the wonderful city of Chicago has found it in its heart to bestow us with a high of 5 today, I am frantically reknitting the fingerless gloves that I started at the beginning of the year. Lusciousluka got me some lovely yarn for Christmas. I started knitting a certain lovely pattern from a certain company that will not be named. The pattern looked lovely. I started knitting it however to only find that the right mitt is actually a left mitt and some of the decreases were wrong. I just went along with it, finished the right mitt and started the left. That one is also a left mitt!!! With the amount of errors in the first one and the fact that I would have to rework everything to get a stinking right mitt I decided to frogg the whole thing and find a new pattern. It is super cold outside. I need mitts!

Now, the pattern is free, so I can't complain to much. C'est la vie. I just find it amusing that errata has already been published for the pattern. They caught the error on the ring finger but not the fact that you get 2 left mitts. I am trying to decide how best to tell the company about this so that a) they don't get offended that I am complaining about a free pattern and b) no one else has to deal with this. I am experienced enough to know that the pattern has errors, but some other knitter might get so frustrated thinking that they are the ones that are reading the pattern wrong.

07 January 2009

2009 Begins

Happy 2009 everybody! I know I have been slacking with the blog, but I hope to change that in 2009. We had a super awesome time visiting our families. I think my dad should get the hero of the holidays award. He was sick all week and had to handle some super crisis at work. He still managed to make it to our new years eve bash- go dad!

This years resolutions are:

1) Make at least weekly entries on the blog
2) Get into a better yoga routine (It comes to mind that last year's routine of working out twice a month is not going to cut it)
3) Knit through more of my sock yarn stash. I have not a terrible amount of sock yarn, but I have a pathetic amount of actual finished socks. Considering that I am a pretty decent knitter and my goal is to have mostly hand knit socks at some point... the fact that I currently own a mere 4 pairs is silly. So my friends, I hope to show you more socks in the future.

Knitting and resolutions were put on hold for a while due to the small flood that was in our apartment last week. I shall not go into details here, but suffice to say I almost have the house back to normal.

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