Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Dogs Like Peanut Butter

I couldn't really think of a title for this post; I'm eating bread with peanut butter and they're begging for some. So there 'ya go.

Nothing hugely exciting to report lately: the butterflies are flying around like crazy here right now. They must be migrating, or mating, or whatever it is butterflies do in the spring. I had lunch last week at Herbivore in Berkeley, a vegan international-cuisine place that was absolutely fantastic and I've been thinking about it since. I had the coconut noodle soup and marinated tofu sandwich. Yum! I have a training class on campus and think I might take myself for lunch there again on Tuesday!

I'm about half way through the back on my Soap Bubble Wrap.


The curlicue-looking bits at the top on the needles are actually the sleeves that I just started. I haven't been knitting to much lately on this, and for some reason have been playing a lot of sudoku instead. But it should be done within the next few weeks I think.

While I was photographing my knitting on the patio, I heard Chris call out asking if I was out there. I stepped over to the slider, and the dogs were both trying to watch me and asking to come out.

Inside are Mac, Ayla to the right of him, and behind them Chris playing video games online with Eli. And you can see me, so I'm calling this a family photograph! You can also see what gorgeous weather we've been getting.

More proof of Northern California beauty: Chris playing fetch with Mac on one of our grassy areas in the complex.


And my guys hanging out on the couch:


Ayla likes to lie on the hot concrete patio in the sun and warm her bones. Then she pants for a long time, and it looks like she's smiling. :)


That's about it for now. I have a concert coming up with the Pleasanton Community Concert Band on Sunday, April 5. If you are in the area and want to come, its at the Amador Theater in Pleasanton (1155 Santa Rita Road) from 2:00 to 4:00. And its FREE!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Picture's Worth...

I came across Wordle recently - it captures text and turns it into a word-collage-bubble-thingamajig (they call them word clouds). Here is the first page of my blog in Wordle form:

















This makes me smile. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Making Stuff

I'll start off with an almost-fail recipe I made late last week. I had seen a recipe somewhere for Spinach Ricotta Dumplings with a Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce, and could not get it out of my head. I could not find the original recipe, so I cobbled it together with a couple of other recipes I found online. However, I substituted mozzarella for Parmesan in my dumplings and they turned out soggy. That was all overshadowed by the sauce. ZOMG, it was good! The sauce is from Chocolate & Zucchini, and it would be delicious over pasta or gnocchi.

Why yes, that is a lot of sauce

I also made a pizza that was one of my best yet. I made my usual dough, with 1/3 whole wheat flour, garlic, and red pepper flakes. I topped it with a mushroom basil cream sauce (I've been on a sauce kick lately), similar to the garlic sauce above; chopped marinated artichoke hearts, chopped spinach, grated cheddar, and vegetarian pepperoni slices. I had it for lunch today, and Chris had it for breakfast.

Acres of pizza

I've also finished the other front piece of my Soap Bubble Wrap. I'm already about four inches into the back too. This sweater is going very quickly! The lace pattern is simple and fun, and I've gotten through it with a minimum of problems, which makes me happy. A few more weeks and I suspect I'll have a finished product.

Soap Bubble Left Front

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bed Bugs



Not great picture quality, since I took this with my iPhone, but this is how I watched a movie last night in bed... completely surrounded by my pets. See, everyone can get along!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ugh

Yesterday I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

It started the night prior, with winds so strong, our bathroom fan buzzed and hummed for hours. I'm a terrible sleeper, so I lay awake for hours until the wind died down for a while.

The next morning my usual 30-40 minute commute took an hour and half. Twenty-five miles takes a very long time when you are averaging ten.

After I get to work, I receive a call from the bank regarding suspected fraud charges on my work procurement card (a central component of my job is procurement using a credit card). My card is now canceled and I'm stuck with a lot of extra work until my new card arrives. And this has happened to me multiple times over the past few years despite the care I take with my card. I know I'm not doing anything wrong and its most likely random, but it is very frustrating and shines such a poor light on me.

Consequently, a nice police officer came to take my report, and she was younger than me. I'm now older than police officers. That's a trip.

And then I saw this (thank you, Dooce), and couldn't feel pitiful any longer:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Overthinking It

Unbearable cuteness

I reclaimed the yarn from my Ophelia, which was too small and I would likely never actually wear it. It was fun unzipping all the rows. I wound the yarn into balls as I ripped so I wouldn't end up with a hopelessly tangled pile of ramen.


I've been moving along on my Soap Bubble Wrap and have completed the right front piece (left front in the pattern, but I'm knitting left-handed without changing anything so mine is mirrored), with only a few snags:

- I did three gauge swatches before I came up with the correct pattern gauge.

- I started the front and messed up on the first line of double increases (a few inches in) and had to frog it.

- I’m substituting kfbf for the double increase because I couldn't get the specified increase to work correctly.

- About half way up the front chart I dropped a stitch and had to unknit a few rows, but I was able to fix the mistake to my satisfaction.

- Finally, I overthought the short rows on the shoulder shaping. I did the wrap and turns and got to the point when you put the piece on stitch holders to wait for the three-needle bind off, but the instructions tell you to put the front border stitches on a holder, then the rest. Well, I was starting at the sleeve end so, in my overthinking way, I figured it must be due to the left-handedness. I unknit all the way to the start of the short rows and then did some research online, only to figure out that what I had done was correct. So I redid what I had just undone. Its all about learning...

Soap Bubble Wrap - Right Front

I attempted yet another lemon meringue pie yesterday, this time with the Jello lemon filling I found at the grocery store. The filling is not nearly tart enough, and too custard-like, but at least it doesn't taste flat-out bad. I've also made a few pie shells lately, and now find that I dislike the premade Pillsbury crusts you can buy in the refrigerated section - they are too salty and tough compared to homemade. And homemade is surprisingly a lot easier than I thought. I'll be sticking with making my own from now on, I just have to remember to add in the extra hour or so it takes to prepare one (mostly chilling time).

Lemon meringue pie attempt eleventy-billion

I put the pie in the refrigerator without completely cooling it on the counter, so the meringue shrank, pulling away from the sides of the pie plate, and those little beads of sugary moisture formed on top. I think they're rather pretty.

Nectar

I also whipped out a double-batch (four dozen) of my favorite Outrageous Chocolate Cookies courtesy of Martha Stewart today.

Cooling, and making the whole house smell like chocolate

The dogs have been bored due to the rainy weather. In fact, Ayla is looking at me expectantly, and perhaps a little disappointedly, right now.

Ayla: I didn't do it.

Mac, dejected and bored. Or just sleeping. Same diff.

Please entertain us!

Little pink toesies!