June 2005


My mom is visiting this week for an education and technology conference. Since West Philly is having its own version of Restaurant Week this week (a bunch of restaurants have special prix fixe menus at the same time), we decided to go to White Dog. It’s out of my normal price range (by about a factor of 3), but ohhhh, was it worth it. We split a crab and crayfish cake, the duck with bok choy and wild rice and the salmon with giant lima beans and mashed potatoes, and then we got dessert. My mom got the creme brulee (her favorite dessert), and I got the dark chocolate chipotle pot de creme, which is my new favorite dessert ever. Sooo good. It was about the texture of truffle filling–denser than my usual idea of pudding–with a sneaky spicy aftertaste behind really rich chocolate. Plus there was cinnamony whipped cream on top, and an orangey biscuity cookie.

Plans based on this dessert:
• go to the library and investigate the White Dog cookbook
• try Jill‘s suggestion of curry truffles
• go to White Dog for my birthday, for a salad and a pot de creme

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So, I got my copy of the Fall ’05 Interweave Knits on Saturday. It looks okay; nothing I absolutely have to knit immediately, but I’ve already got enough planned to last a year or so.

The ridiculous bit? I have yet to receive the Summer ’05 IK. They’ve now sent three of them, and none have arrived. I was all set to figure that someone in the post office was keeping them, but then I got the fall issue. Maybe it’s the weekday delivery person, and the fact that I got this one on a Saturday solved the problem? If I haven’t gotten the summer issue by Friday, though, I’m gonna ask them to extend my subscription by an issue and just go buy a copy from Rosie’s.

It’s been a week of craziness and leaving-the-computer-at-work. Actually, it’s been odd enough that one of my coworkers assumed that my activities could only be due to a new boyfriend. (Not so.)

Last Sunday’s basketball game was enough fun that I had planned to watch game 6, but I was guilt-tripped into staying home with Mel, who leaped onto my shoulder and purred for five minutes when I got home from work. So I watched Star Wars and listened to the second half of the game. I knitted a bit more on the dulaan hat. And then I checked the size. Instead of being the ~21″ I’d been hoping for, it was more like 26″ around. I ripped it all out, and then kicked myself for not just making it into a baby sweater. Ah, well.

On Wednesday, I met up with Cyn, Jill, Sarcasmo, SuperTarzan, Amy, Sam, and Jim for Batman Begins. It was fun, particularly because I was with such a large group. I knitted the rest of the cuff of wildfoote sock #1 during the first half, and then I gave up on the knitting. (Only the explodey bits really had enough light for me to see what I was doing…)

I did wind up watching game 7 with Anj and Sue, and I made some progress on Klarabrite (along with, of course, having a lovely evening, in which I discovered that brussels sprouts are tasty). The extraordinary amount of tv/movie intake for this week continued on Friday, when I watched The Empire Strikes Back, and then yesterday morning, when I got myself out early (for me on a Saturday, at least) to see March of the Penguins. I cast off the first wildfoote sock while on the trolley and el on the way there, and managed a figure-8 cast on before the movie started. Unfortunately, I didn’t get all the way through the next round of knitting. A bit of advice: do not attempt to knit off a figure-8 cast on in the dark. It got kind of messy. At least I had beautiful video of really cute penguinlets to distract me from my knitting failures.

Redsock1
a finished sock!

Fig8indark
the mangled toe of movie-knitting

After the penguins, I came home with the intention to do lots of cleaning, but I’m really good at procrastinating. Example: my mom’s going to be here in about two hours. My apartment is still a wreck, and I haven’t even done my make-up co-op shift. What am I doing? Blogging. Other example: yesterday afternoon, I was going to clean the bathroom, take a shower, and find a nice dress/skirt to wear to my advisor’s barbecue at 6. What did I do? A little bit of cleaning. My passengers and I would have arrived on time, at least, but we learned that the other half of the lab was about half an hour behind us, so we took a scenic detour past Haverford College. Once we got there, though, and had had dinner, I chatted a bit about knitting and crafting with my advisor’s wife, who runs a knitting club at a local elementary school.

I finally did some real cooking1 yesterday. I’d been planning to make the Roast Vegetable Tart With Rich Walnut Crust from Gaia’s Kitchen2 for a couple of months. I’d offered to make it for Anj and Sue, and they offered me the use of their tv for the basketball game last night, which worked out beautifully.

Alas, I neglected to locate my food processor and confirm the edibility of my pesto before starting to cook, so I had to improvise in bits that I thought wouldn’t need improvisation. The tart turned out fine, though, and I learned how much of a difference rolling out pastry crust makes, even when it’s made with oil instead of butter. Maybe next time I make a quiche I’ll roll out the crust, even if it is just for me… Actually, the most convincing sign that the tart was good was that Sue liked it despite the eggplant.

After dinner, we sat down for some knitting before the game came on. I spent a few minutes on the onyx flower basket, and then….

“Hey, Anj, could I try out a set of your Denises?”

. . .

“And do you have some yarn I could use? All of mine is stuck in projects.”

Thus began a purple dulaan hat to coordinate with the purple dulaan sweater that Anj made a couple of weeks ago. The 2×2 rib and stockinette made for perfect basketball-watching knitting, and the slightly oversized needles meant that it went pretty quickly.

Halfpurplehat
about half done

1as distinguished from “how can I have hot food in the shortest amount of time?” cooking–I used fresh vegetables, an unfortunate rarity these days

2an excellent cookbook of vegetarian (with some vegan) food, including some gorgeous pictures and a really amusing/engaging writing style–the RVTWRWC is described as “a bit of a fiddle to make”

The other reason for the heading is that I’ve started listening to my collection of bluegrass again. Mmm, fiddles and banjos.

I have proof of Mel’s ridiculous (and highly amusing) habit of climbing my window screens:

Mel on screen
“Come back here, you!”

After I finished laughing (in a nice way!) at Mel, I went off to Rosie’s, armed with the discount card that I’d filled nearly a year ago.

Knittystuff0618
the haul

I’m thinking I might dig through the craft supplies in my parents’ basement for the wire that we got for jewelry-making. Knitting with wire looks like fun… It’s also probably more feasible than dyeing in my kitchen, although I may try kool-aid dyeing if I can get my hands on some dyeable wool.

After Rosie’s, I headed a couple of blocks over to where Kirsten and a couple of other PhillyKnitters (whose lj names I’ve forgotten) were knitting in Rittenhouse Square. Despite messing up because I was talking and not paying attention to the chart, I finished the first repeat of the second chart of the flower basket shawl (mistakes fixed):

Flowerbasket0618
ahhhhh, lace

I’ve been distracted from fiber for the past few days. I spent Monday evening packing dried figs and cashew pieces into half-pound and one-pound bags, Tuesday was Jill‘s birthday thingy (in a smoky bar, so no knitting), and last night was laundry and playing with a very attention-starved Mel.

It’s also definitely summer (though I’m very glad it doesn’t feel like August anymore), so there are flowers to photograph:

Beebalm
beebalm

coneflower bud1
coneflower

coneflower bud2
coneflower bud

Ten days: the longest I could go without having a lace project on needles. So I started a Flower Basket Shawl yesterday afternoon.

flower basket shawl

That’s nearly all of the first chart. It was pretty quick even with the numerous interruptions for me to exclaim to myself how much I love knitting lace. Ah, lace. And I don’t even have to worry about figuring out what to do, as it’s all laid out in a couple of charts.

I’ve also worked a bit more on my sock, which is maybe 3/4″ away from being done:

Sock0611

I love my air conditioners. I would be much, much crankier without them. (So you should appreciate them, too.)

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