Tuesday, January 31, 2012

pescovegetarian mittens

When I moved to DC, I promptly went out in search of a yarn shop. Because, it's good to be prepared and get your priorities straight from the get go. Well, I thankfully found a quirky little LYS which has subsequently grown a bit larger, in Old Town Alexandria. Fibre Space is inviting and inspiring - with lots of natural light and the owner's little dog making the commercial space feel homey.

The first thing I bought was the yarn for these here mittens. They came together really fast and for year, sat in a box under my bed until I decided to gift them to my mother for Christmas.

I included this pattern in my knitters gift guide - mittens edition, and the pattern can me found here. (Psst, it's Finnish, so you know it's gotta be good, right - but the pattern's in English, so no worries.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

what's the story, morning glory?

How'd it get to be Monday already, I just don't know. But this weekend went by so fast, that before I knew it it was 11:30 Sunday night and I still hadn't watched the new episode of Downton Abbey. So I did the only sensible thing to be done and stayed up much too late to watch it. And my oh my was is ever worth it. Gosh, it's getting good! Anyway, who could sleep knowing that an episode of DA was just sitting there in the DVR, waiting, seriously?

Oh and I made morning glory muffins for a brunch on Saturday morning and decided to double the recipe because it said it only made 12 and I thought that's not really worth the effort. Well, I ended up with 45 and had to use my salad bowl to mix them - why is it so hard to find a decently large mixing bowl? And despite all the goodies that I put in them, I still feel like they're missing something - crushed pineapple, candied ginger, or crasins, maybe. Although, I think they do get better after a few days - good thing as I've still got oodles.

Friday, January 27, 2012

staying in

It's been a busy week and last night, well, last night I didn't have to be anywhere or do anything. When I got home from work, I put on my pajama pants, grabbed my knitting and parked myself in front of the tellie. I had grand plans of finishing the mitten I'm working on but instead only finished a few rows - I forget how long the thumb increases take, but I'm to the fast part now.

And what's really rare, I got a chance to catch up with each of my roommates - I have some great roommates.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yes; the usual palm tree*

It's not that I particularly mind winter, on the contrary, I think that snow is lovely and there is something truly fascinating about the colors of a winter landscape. When the lush green leaves are gone, all sorts of interesting hues pop out against the grey, it's absolutely beautiful. And why is it that the stars are so much brighter in the winter? Is it the longer nights? Is it the cold? - they continually take my frosty breath away.

And yet, though it is still January, I can't help thinking about spring. I've been getting gardening catalogs in the mail and I find myself lingering over the pages upon pages of tomatoes - beefsteaks and slicers and heirlooms and saladettes. Two weekends in a row, I've found myself in house plant section at the Home Depot - if I can't be planting in my yard, house plants it is. I've added 5 to my collection.

Now, all I need is a conservatory. 

* An excerpt from Act IV of An Ideal Husband:

MABEL CHILTERN. [Aside to LORD GORING.] I shall be in the conservatory under the second palm tree on the left.
LORD GORING. Second on the left?
MABEL CHILTERN. [With a look of mock surprise.] Yes; the usual palm tree.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Over Christmas I went with my mom to visit a family friend who lives in a assisted living center. And while we chatted, this dear friend regaled us with tales of carolers going rouge, venturing out of the common areas, and harassing residents with their unwelcome merriment. And while I stuggled to hold in my laughter, I thought to myself, "I guess we all have drama in our lives."

I count myself lucky to have a life with very little drama and not so much stress - aside from the occasional worry over money or maybe when the neighbor's workmen carelessly drive into my vegetable garden (still a little steamed about that one). And yet today felt oh so dramatic. This morning I got an email requesting my help on a project and I gladly put away my online furniture shopping and offered my assistance. But no sooner had I done so than I learned that I had no idea what I was doing. And after scratching my head, exhorting assistance from my coworkers, imbibing the contents of a chilled can of diet coke, and consulting with IT, I finally realized that I didn't have access to the files that I needed to complete this "15 minute project". Oh dear, I imagine the only thing that could have made it worse were if a bunch of strangers had chosen that moment to park themselves outside my cube and sing the little drummer boy at me. (Go ahead and laugh at my drama, I certainly did as I refuse to cry over this stupid job.)

Alas, we got it all straightened out in the end and 3 hours later (remember this was a "15 minute project"), I had received access to the necessary files and somebody else had completed the project in spite of my attempts to help. And so I chalk this one up to experience, thankful that someone else was able to cover for me and that I'm may be better prepared to help next time.

You see, I posit that drama is good for the soul. Though unpleasant, it's generally only in times of crisis that I ever accomplish anything and as illustrated by this story, even then there's no guarantees. But as an inevitable part of life, I strive to learn from it and learn through these chunks of drama in my life. But now that the moment has passed, I wonder if there is anymore diet coke in the fridge.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

baby steps in the kitchen

This year I've decided that I'm going to start cooking more. And by cooking I mean nutritious meals from real ingredients. Not frozen, boxed or canned stuff that I add stuff too. Not brownies or cookies or pies. I'm talking real food. Call it a resolution if you will but I'm not insane, I realize that the boxed and frozen stuff is sort of a necessary convenience (I've done my darndest to cut out cans - because of the bpa which could either be the downfall of our society or totally harmless). So we're talking baby steps. First step was to try a new recipe. And that's what I did. Over the weekend I made this baked butternut squash and cheese polenta -sans the mushrooms (I served mine with fresh arugula and tomatoes).

photo from Kitchen Daily

The recipe looked  fairly simple and I figured that I could round up all the ingredients easily enough, so I gave it a go. I was quickly reminded of how intensive real cooking could be. So many steps. So many pans. Must I really let it chill for 3 hours? Must I really let it cool? Can't I just eat it straight out of the oven? Is all of this effort going to pay off? 

Yeah, I got a little anxious but I followed through and followed the recipe with as much exactness as I could muster. In the end I was pleasantly surprised. And yes, it really did taste better once I'd let it cool and set up a bit. Baby steps to eating better.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"with pleasure"

Last Friday night I met up with some friends to see the Artist, which sort of stole the show two days later at the Golden Globes. It's a black and white silent film - I know, artsy. And I'll be honest there were a few moments in the middle when I got a bit frigidity and my internal dialog went something like, "this is RIDICULOUS, just gimme some dialog already!" but then I took a deep breath told myself to hold it together and kept watching. I am unaccustomed to watching a movie so closely (i.e. devoting so much visual attention to the screen). Honestly, I don't watch many movies these days and when I do, it's usually at home on the telly while knitting. The Artist is NOT a good knitting movie but it was really interesting and refreshing. One of my favorite perfomances was John Goodman. He's just so lovable and it was fun to see him in something so out of the norm.

And Berenice Bejo was absolutely delightful - loved her costumes!

Finally, I should just mention that the music was beautiful. So if you're feeling ambitious or aspire to some culture, go see it. It's really one of those movies that you have to see in the theater.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I read a book: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Back in November I announced my sabbatical from the news, declaring that I was going to stop reading the news and start reading books. Well, this sabbatical has been really good for me. My anxiety levels have dropped as I have stopped listening to the incessant jabber about the unemployment rate. I know that it's bad and that's good enough for me. And I could care less about the republican primaries - all of them heartless idiots in my book and I don't need to be reminded. These days I've been reading books on the metro instead of NYT editorials or whatever free newspaper they happen to be handing out in the metro. And it's been delightful.

While some of the books I've read haven't been worth mentioning, just this morning, I finished a great book: Hotel and the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jaime Ford. It's more than a love story, it's a story about love. A story about new love, old loves, love between friends, love between husband and wife, parent and child. It's also about and incredibly dark time in our nation's history. A time when we imprisoned over 100,000 people of Japanese decent during WWII. Most of these people were citizens of the United States and all were deprived or their liberty and property without trial or hearing. And yet the book remains sweet even while tackling some really awful issues.

I couldn't recommend it more highly.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I have no excuses for my absence the last two days, I simply couldn't think of anything to say, so I spared you all from my boring ramblings. DC is such a strange city sometimes and of late even the weather has become polarized. Yesterday was so warm that I ate my lunch outside with the homeless and occupy crowd at freedom plaza and today, I feared I might loose my ears to frostbite on my walk to the metro. On monday we had snow, on thursday we had rain. It's almost enough to persuade me to check the weather before I leave the house in the morning - but what would be the fun in that?

Oops, here I am chatting about the weather. I'll spare you any discourse on the roads and promise something a bit more lively next week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

love, sacrifice and shoes

Today I wore my Christmas shoes to work. Not to be confused with the most annoyingly depressing Christmas song of all time, seriously fm100, enough already, let it die. Let it die and bury it with that sad dead mother and her new shoes.

But I digress, I fell in love with these shoes when I first spotted them online back in November. I knew I had to have them but the Macy's near my work didn't have them and I really wanted to see them before I bought them, so I waited. I waited to thanksgiving. Back in Utah, I went to Dillards, home of the best shoe department I know and I tried them on and my sweet mother bought them for me for Christmas. So I pined away for another month. But at last, Christmas came and my shoes and I were together at last.

So this morning, after taking an inordinate amount of time deciding what to wear, I pulled out my new shoe and man did they look smashing. And with mincing steps I hobbled to work. As I soon discovered, though they're not so much uncomfortable, for what ever reason, I can hardly walk in them. Blasted lovely shoes.

But isn't love all about making sacrifices?

Monday, January 9, 2012

flights of fancy

This wallpaper makes me a little week in the knees. Seriously, knitted wall paper? It's too much! Too bad the website is all in Norweigan, not that I'd be able to afford it or have anywhere to put it, alas. Thanks poppytalk for giving a girl something to dream about.


Oh, and Downton Abbey was really good but I stayed up way to late watching it. This season, the episodes are truly 2 hours long (w/o commercials). And not that I'm complaining, but that's kind of a lot - a lot of indulgent fabulousness, but still, I'm going to have to be a little more careful about getting an earlier start.

Friday, January 6, 2012

it's that time of year

Well, it was bound to happen. I've run out of things to say. Today marks the end of Christmas - if you celebrate the 12 days of Christmas starting on the 25th. So, tomorrow I will take down the lights off bush in the front yard, trash my poinsettia (I hate to through a plant in the garbage, what else is to be done with the thing?) and think forward to spring.

If you consult Wikipedia - source of all trivial knowledge, it turns out that there are a number of different days that dedicated for taking down Christmas. Some cultures wait until Candlemas on February 2nd, which I feel is useful knowledge/justification for procrastination.

And as it appears that the 12th day of Christmas, or Day of Epiphany is often celebrated with cake, I may just help myself.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

countdown to downton

Season 2 of Downton Abbey starts this Sunday and it's all I can think about. I watched the last episode of season 1 a couple of nights ago and was reminded of what I already knew, it's possibly the best thing I've ever seen on television. You can find the official countdown here. And you'll see that I'm quite serious.

Season 1 ended with the receipt of a telegram by the Earl of Grantham (patriarch of the Crawley family) in the middle of a garden party that England was at war with Germany, a war which would come to be known as World War I.

If you haven't watched season 1 yet, you've still got time. It's only 4 episodes long and can be watched online here and may be aired in its entirety before the the airing of the season 2 premier on Sunday night. I promise that you won't be disapointed.

And if you're wondering, where they came up with some of these plot lines that boarder on the outrageous? Sometimes life is stranger than fiction, check this out.

Finally, because I've watched it a dozen times and may watch it a dozen more before Sunday, the preview for season 2.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

a year in review - 2011

I've been thinking about the events of the past year and concluded that it was a quiet year. I didn't move, I never left the country, didn't visit any new states, there were no grand road trips, or exotic vacations, there were no graduations, marriages or funerals. It was a quiet year for me, but a good one. Here are some of the highlights:

Channeled my inner Elle Woods and discovered the glory of a good manicure

Read at least 8 books
Did not move - for the first time since 2005 I spent a whole year in the same state

Discovered zombie movies - how had I missed these?

Started a vegetable garden and already planning next years

Became an aunt

Was admitted into the DC bar

Stopped wearing glasses - turns out I never really needed them

Knitted, danced, sang, blogged

And while it wasn't monumental, it was a really good year. It was the year that I started to feel like a grown-up. I put down roots, I worked hard, I supported myself and I enjoyed life. Here's to adventures great and small in the 2012!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 is dead

Happy New Year!

Well, I successfully brought in the new year with family* and friends. And because my friends are fancy we even had a ball drop and celebratory toast at midnight.

My ward starts meeting at 3 today and there has been a lot of whining about this. And while I agree that it may take an adjustment, I'm looking forward to a year full of lazy Sunday mornings, a good excuse to stay in my p.j.s till noon and perhaps the occasional brunch.

But do you know what I'm dreading? I'm dreading the inevitable congressional hymn, Ring Out Wild Bells. Don't let that name fool you with it's celebratory and joyous implications, it's the worst hymn in the book. Worst because, it's depressing. I can get behind In Our Lovely Deseret because at least it's laughably bad. But why must we sing this each year?

The year is dying
In the night
Ring out wild bells
and let him die

Wow Lord Tennyson, talk about a buzz kill. 

*My little sister just moved to the area it's really fun to have her around.