Monthly Archives: September 2008

That Just Beats All

I was just perusing my statcounter (BTW, “how to cancel GAP card” is still the biggest hit), and I noticed a visitor from Wasilla, Alaska.

Wasilla, Alaska!

A town the name of which I wouldn’t have given much thought previously. But now it sets off all sorts of alarms and bells and whistles.

Wasilla, Alaska.

Out with the Old, In with the New

The past half week has been big…BIG!

Early in the week, I told Porkchop that we would buy a car on Thursday. So, I took the day off and we went out and found this:


It’s a 2007 Nissan Versa hatchback! It has 43K miles on it, but we are happy with it, so please don’t question the mileage (it was a fleet car from Enterprise, okay?). Also, we could afford it (well, sort of).

Porkchop’s old crappy car is currently in the garage. Hopefully she will post it for sale soon! Who wants a leaky convertible with a big dent in the side and no AC and a driver’s side window that doesn’t work? Anyone??

After this car excitement, I stayed home for most of the weekend and did fun things like scrape the basement walls.

I also knitted. I finished the guilt hat, which used this pattern. I forgot to take a picture before gifting it, so imagine the pattern in this color:


Pictured is the Foliage hat, which is now nearly done.

Sunday night, Porkchop and I knitted together! So exciting that Porkchop is knitting again (and not twisting her stitches this time)!


Today was a very good day. Well, work was a bit exhausting, but after work was fun.

We had dinner at Pi (for a second time, and we’ve been pleased both times). I was crazy hungry when we arrived, and I ordered a Schlafly Pumpkin Ale and became nearly drunk off of 2 ounces. In my defense, I hadn’t eaten in, you know, 5 hours, and it is 8% alcohol by volume. The beer itself was yummy, like a slice of pumpkin pie.

After pizza, we had Ben & Jerry’s, and then we went to the Tivoli for a free showing of The Duchess. The movie is quite good and made both of us tear up. Murr.

Other good parts of the day were waiting for me at home. First, a thank you note from a friend and former co-worker who was visiting in St. Louis a couple of weekends ago. We had enjoyed a delicious brunch at Cafe Osage (in Bowood Farms) while we reminisced about the past and contemplated the future.

Second, I received this kick-ass broadside, which I had been coveting:


It’s the Summer 2007 broadside from Silver Buckle Press. If you want one, you can get one here. Mine, however, came from our dear friend Kathy (blog here, and website here), who designed and printed it. Behind me, you can see our first housewarming gift from Kathy, which is part of her Maps series. (At least, I think it is, Kathy should correct me if I’m wrong).

So, all in all, a good day!

This week is going to be weird on campus because we are going into lockdown mode due to the VP debate. On Wednesday and Thursday, you won’t be able to get on campus without a school ID. And, our school is encouraging us to work from home on Thursday, and to definitely not stay past 3 pm. I’m a bit torn because I want to see the fuss and the media, but I also want to take advantage of any offer to work from home. Hmmm…

Have a great week!

Well…

This day kind of threw up on itself. It began with our director going all doomsday about the financial market stuff, and it just went a bit downhill from there.

But, other things…

Friday Night
Porkchop and I ventured to Forest Park for the hot air balloon glow. Oh my, we were so unprepared for the crowds. I can’t believe that many people turn out to watch a couple dozen balloons light up! People were also lighting up there, if you know what I mean. In fact, I was so hungry when we arrived, I felt a bit drugged. Porkchop guided me through the crowds, the fiery balloons, the people taking pictures with the brightest flashes ever, the bagpipers…

When we arrived at the fried food stands, we bought one of everything, thank you very much. Egg rolls, crab rangoons, pork ke bob, a funnel cake. Ugh, but so good!

The best parts of the balloon glow were the fireworks and walking through Forest Park at night.

Saturday
On her way to Six Flags, Porkchop dropped off me and my bike at the farmers market. I picked up some goodies (butternut and acorn squash, a sweet potato, Yukon potatoes, tomatoes (regular and Sungold), apples, and a raspberry scone), and then I rode back to our house on Jefferson. Yay!

Saturday night, I cooked up some of my purchases. I made a pasta sauce out of the butternut squash (dice; season with sage, salt, pepper; sprinkle with olive oil; roast for 40 minutes on 375; puree with cream and water to thin) and I roasted the acorn squash and sweet potato (my favorite method of dicing and seasoning with chile powder).

Sunday
Was weird. Keetah woke us up at 7 with much crying; we determined she must have hurt her hind right leg, perhaps when Amanda bathed her on Friday. Getting up early was okay because we needed to get out to the airport to pick up our rental car. We’re renting a car this week. You know, for funsies. Actually Porkchop’s car isn’t suitable to drive at the moment, so we intend on just buying a car this week. I haven’t detailed all that is wrong with P-chop’s car, but she did recently on her blog.

Blech. I am so tired of cars.

Knitting
Since we will have a big purchase this week, I’m putting off buying yarn for a while. So no February Lady sweater this week. The good thing about this is that I’m nearly done with the guilt hat…photos will be posted soon.

Knit Knit Knitting

I am excited for knitterly things again.

This weekend, I intend to purchase yarn for and start a February Lady sweater. I wish I could buy yarn NOW and start knitting NOW.

I’m also still working on my log cabin stash blanket, and I’ve started a hat for a co-worker’s toddler. The hat is being made out of guilt. I started a sweater for the baby shower and didn’t finish it in time, and now – were the sweater finished – the kid would be too big for it. Since it’s a guilt hat, it’s being made out of very nice Dream in Color Classy.

I also look forward to making a couple more Sweet Baby Caps because they are so darn cute! This time, when I make the baby caps, I’ll also make coordinating Saartje Bootees because they are also the cutest.

Oh, and there are so many other things to knit, now that the weather is cooling off a bit.

Cooking without Photos

We really need to charge our camera battery; posts without photos are no fun for anyone. Especially when I spend a couple of hours in the kitchen and have no photographic proof.

So, you’ll just have to believe me and imagine food in your head.

Last night I made this carrot soup recipe (only I added celery and a potato). For an accompaniment, I tackled aloo paratha with the guidance of these instructions. In my opinion, they turned out very well for my first attempt. The carrot soup and the paratha were quite tasty, perhaps because the carrots were from my shared garden and the potatoes were from the farmers market we visited in Wisconsin.

I’ve found that I do need to take a trip to an Indian grocery for things like mango powder, coriander seeds, and perhaps a more appropriate flour for the paratha.

Last week, Porkchop and I used our CSA butternut squash to make this bisque. Oh so yum! The recipe is on Oprah’s website, but do not let that deter you.

Sunday night, we roasted our CSA chicken, along with our CSA potatoes and other vegetables. It was alright…I’m just not much of a “whole roasted chicken” person, and I find it difficult to find motivation or good ideas for cooking them. Let me know if you have any.

After the roasted chicken and vegetables, I made a vanilla pound cake (loaf-size, thankfully). It’s quite good…especially with black tea. Yum.

Our food processor is starting to get quite a bit of use. I used it 3 times last night. Once for cutting the carrots, potato, celery, and onions for the carrot soup; once for mixing and kneading the paratha dough; and once for pureeing the soup. I like cutting vegetables for things, but I was short on time last night, so I was in total awe of the processor making such quick work (a minute maybe?) of all of those vegetables.

A Semi-Magical Week

When Keetah has had a particularly stinky poop, she bolts out of the litterbox, skitters across the kitchen floor, and then turns back to tear up the stairs. Unlike the nastiness that must have just come out of Keetah, this past week was great!

In summary…

Friday Night
After 7 hours or so of driving, we arrived at our home for the weekend, an amazing lake house a bit north of Milwaukee. We stayed up for a while to talk to Patrick and Chelsey, and then we went to sleep in a bedroom with a vaulted ceiling and a wall of windows overlooking the lake. Nice!

Saturday
We started the day at the West Bend farmers market. I picked up some tomato jam, which I’ll crack open during the winter when I miss tomatoes, and we breakfasted on huge peach and raspberry muffins. Yum! On the way back from the market, we stopped at a cheese and sausage store for cheese (of course), beef jerky, and baby rice popcorn (I haven’t been able to find this here in Missouri).

Once we returned to the lake house, Chelsey, Patrick, and Chelsey’s dad took us for a turn out on the lake. C and P convinced me to try “barefooting” – you know, skiing on the water WITHOUT the benefit of skis. Seeing as how I’ve never even waterskied before, you can only imagine how this ended. I think I made 5 or 6 attempts (half in swimsuit only, the others in a wetsuit…which makes a big difference comfort-wise).

I never made it up successfully, but I did walk away with a little cut below my eye, a very bruised right arm (from clinging onto the boat’s boom for dear life), and nicely bruised thighs (from sitting in the swing suspended from the boom). Painful, but it was fun. Seriously.

After barefooting, we went tubing, which really was fun. I especially enjoyed seeing C and P thrown off the tube when C’s dad made a crazy-fast turn (sorry, guys, but it was fun to watch).

Once watersports were over, we watched C and P prepare food for their little going away party that night. We feasted on guacamole, salsa, chips, more cheese, and burritos.

OH, and wonderful pies! C made a double layer pecan pie, and P made a peach and raspberry pie.

Sunday
The day started with brunch in Hales Corners with P’s parents. A very delightful brunch buffet at the botanical gardens…made even better by P’s mom telling stories from P’s childhood.

I love parents.

Brunch was followed by a rather sad Brewers game. The loss was quite great…11-1, I think. But, I did snap this fuzzy photo of Porkchop and Patrick by the sausage statues (you know about the sausage race, right?):


(We took our camera on the trip, only to find that the battery was dead. So, this is the only photo I have, taken with my phone).

After the game, we checked out Patrick’s kick-ass garden. It’s a great example of intensive planting with beans and squash climbing up trees.

Next, it was on to Madison for dinner with our friends Vivian and Carmen. We stuffed ourselves on curries and mangoes with sticky rice at Lao Laan Xang. Mmmmm….

Monday
The day started with more food! Breakfast at Lazy Jane’s began this very self-indulgent day. After eating, we stopped by Porkchop’s (and Patrick’s) old stomping grounds: Tandem Press. Then we went to my old stomping grounds: Lakeside Fibers. Good yarn was found and purchased. Then we went to a new stomping ground: Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier. (Oh my gosh. That’s all I have to say. And yum…super-ass yum.) Finally, we went to a place that I want to be my permanent stomping ground, a new cheese shop: Fromagination. Or, maybe more appropriately, BEST CHEESE SHOP EVER. I now adore Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands cheese…I think I might have to order a wheel. It is super fantastical.

After all of this excitement, we lunched at Ian’s Pizza (always a winner with pizzas like macaroni and cheese). Our last stop with Patrick and Chelsey was the UW Art Department, where Porkchop checked in with former professors, and Patrick got the scoop on the Buenos Aires printmaking scene.

Much too soon, we had to part ways. Porkchop and I drove back to St. Louis (but first we stopped to pick up some New Glarus Spotted Cow beer and Sprecher root beer), and P and C went back to Milwaukee to prepare for their trip (which has been delayed due to Hurricane Ike).

The Rest of the Week
Went by quickly. Today I started scraping the basement walls in preparation for applying dry lock. It isn’t easy. We’re scraping off some paint/plaster stuff so that the dry lock can go directly on the masonry. Since we don’t know if the paint/plaster stuff is lead-based, I wore Porkchop’s respirator. So, while I’m protected, I’m not able to breath in as much oxygen. It makes the work extra tiring.

This evening I biked around Cherokee Street. First, I had a chai and a brownie at Mississippi Mud House. Then I ventured to the other end of the street to check out the Mexican Independence Day Festival. The festival itself wasn’t so great…mainly people leaning against buildings while 6-foot high speakers blasted music.

But, fortunately, there were a few art things happening. I chatted with the printmakers of All Along Press. Two recent WUSTL grads started the press, and Porkchop looks forward to printing there and maybe doing a workshop on litho. Myself, I hope to print some greeting cards or other little things.

I stopped in at a couple of art shows – one at Fort Gondo, and the other at the gallery across the street (can’t remember the name). There’s also an art supply shop opening up near All Along and the galleries. It won’t open officially for a couple more weeks, but the owner had it open tonight so that people could check it out.

Many exciting things happening on Cherokee Street! Kakao is also on Cherokee now, so I will have a local truffle supply (although I can’t figure out what their store hours are…).

I might have stayed out longer, but I was on bike and I need to buy new bike lights so that I won’t be run down in the dark. I had contemplated buying a new bike, but I think my old bike will be just fine after I clean it up. CAMP apparently has a free bike clinic on Thursdays, so maybe I will go there this week for help with a tune-up.

Anyway, that’s all! Hope your weekend is super-great!

Sweet Dreams

In a dream this morning, I was buying a cookie. A wonderfully warm, just-out-of-the-oven blueberry and peach cookie.

I would like one in real life, please. Because I woke up hungry.

We leave for Wisconsin at 4:00 today.

YAYAYAYAYAY!!!!

I’m excited.

Things I Like to Do

Gchat with Porkchop when she is in the living room with the laptop and I’m on the desktop in the little office nook, a mere 15 feet away.

I like Porkchop. A lot.

A Come-What-May Day

I wish all of my weekends were of the 3-day variety. This holiday weekend hasn’t been particularly exciting, but the extra day makes the thing feel complete.

First, let me tell you that I did a ton of laundry this weekend. Many, many loads. I wanted to get everything washed and start fresh with empty hampers. For example, I washed a small rug that has been in the hamper for over a year. Embarrassing? Yes. But clean now? Also yes.

I’ve also eaten nearly half of a batch of brownies. Do I love brownies so much? Yes. Am I tired of them yet? No.

This weekend also saw some yarn activity. I worked more on the neverending interlocking balloons scarf (seriously, am I the slowest knitter on this?), as well as my log cabin blanket. While putting away some clean clothes in my dresser, I spied a knitted kerchief and a hat that I never wear, so I ripped out the two items. I wound the yarn into hanks, soaked them, and hung them up to dry. Now I have my favorite Dream in Color yarn and some Manos del Uruguay for the blanket! I hope they dry quickly.

My left hip is killing me today. I think I blew it out during yoga yesterday. Ugh. Also, my abs are so sore, I can’t turn over in bed without yelping in pain.

So, no yoga today. Only gentle stretching and yard work.

Oh, the yard work.

I ripped out some very invasive vines and plants that had taken over the area between the retaining wall and our neighbor’s fence. During this process, I learned there is a drainage channel that empties from the bottom of the retaining wall into our yard. The water then runs down towards our garage.

The joys of a sloping yard, let me tell you.

Since this is very bad for the garage foundation, I think we need to install a pipe from the drainage channel and direct it out towards the alley (yes, I know the water should go back into the ground, but this sloping yard makes it quite challenging).

As for the water, I don’t know where the hell it’s coming from. It was gushing out this morning. It doesn’t make sense to me, especially given that it hasn’t rained recently. I’m a bit concerned, but I’m trying to not get super agitated about it at the moment. My hunch is that it’s coming from the neighbor’s yard, but I don’t know if that makes sense either.

While inspecting the effects of the deluge, I found a big nest of slugs. A big undulating nest of sliminess.

Of course, my biggest concern regarding the slugs is about what will happen when I plant a garden. I’m already imagining slugs over everything.

After stumbling upon the slug nest, I decided to cut my yard work a bit short and take the refuse to the yard waste dumpster. During my first trip, my eye caught the eye of a sketchy-looking guy hanging out at the dumpster behind the corner bar (which is across the side street).

This little encounter made me abandon the other two big piles of refuse and retire to the house. Enough excitement for one morning.

I am now trying to erase from my mind the image of all of those slugs. And I’m contemplating unpacking a box or two.