Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

This dance ain't for everybody

I'm having a case of doldrums this week, so I'm just going to put up some photos of hats and move on.

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We had pointless "training" at work Wednesday through Friday so I got a lot of knitting done. Two hats and one pair of slippers. I've already cast on another hat, and am also working on a cowl out of handspun cashmere and two pair of socks, but nothing fascinatingly photographic there.

Pittsburgh survived the G20 mostly unscathed. Some of the police over-reacted a bit, and some of the "protesters" (who I think weren't actually protesters but just bored college students) acted up but for the most part, no problems.

Bob and I went to the opera on Saturday. Eugene Onegin, which is in Russian, so my mom didn't want to go, so we went. It was pretty good, some of the singers were amazing, and we had a nice dinner beforehand at this terrific downtown restaurant called Braddock's, inside the Renaissance Hotel. The food was superb from top to bottom, the service impeccable, the atmosphere lush and understated, and the prices reasonable. I can't recommend it enough. I have some photos on my cell phone that I will post hopefully within the next couple of days. Seriously, though, if you're looking for a nice place to eat out downtown, this place is great. I got the hanger steak and it was incredible. They also know how to do frites, which a lot of places don't.

I think part of my doldrums is due to the weather changing to chilly and autumnal. Fall used to be my favorite season but now that the years are flying by for me, I don't like it so much anymore.

Although I do love a good apple cider.

Almost forgot-here's the raku thing I painted last week.
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It didn't come out nearly as awesome as my vision for it was but hey, it's still pretty.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Well I wonder wonder who wrote the book?

I've been an industrious little knitter lately.

Two hats.

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One pair of Mary Janes (that still need finishing)
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A third hat and a second pair of MJs cast on as well. I'm determined not to get bogged down in seasonal knits this year.

I am not sure I posted a photo of the border leicester I spun a couple of weeks ago, but I dragged it outside to take some snaps of it. I may have photographed it on the wheel but not in the skein.
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It's really lovely, I think. It's got slubby bits, as the bats had a few neps and short cuts, it's loosely plied, and I think it'll make a lovely lace shawl or stole at some point.
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Took a couple of architectural pictures at the East End Food Co-Op's art market that came out in an interesting way.

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My daughter was there doing a raku demonstration. It was awesome.

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I painted the glaze on a piece of ceramic and they fired it and did the raku thing with the shredded paper. It was cool. It's a pretty little pot-I'll probably take it to work to keep pens in or something. Bob took this of me painting it.

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It really didn't come out like I expected but it's pretty anyway.

We went to a wedding on Saturday, good friends of ours from Mensa, and the groom was Bob's best man when we got married. It was a nice day and a beautiful ceremony.

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They're so cute!

This week will be strange at work as we are not going to be there from Wednesday through Friday due to the G20 thing. Our office is a block from the Convention Center and that whole area will be closed off. We're being sent offsite for "training", so I will hopefully get a lot more knitting done. I think they just don't want to pay us to stay home because I doubt we'll do much actual learning. You've got to love working for the gub'mint.

There hasn't been a whole lot else, other than I foolishly stepped up and volunteered to be the chairperson for the Western PA Mensa Regional Gathering again. Nobody else was going to come forward, or worse, someone incompetent and/or malicious would have. So I did. It's going to be a challenge but I think it'll be good. We've already got the hotel contract, that's the biggest stress after getting enough room nights booked so I figured what the heck. We'll see how it goes.

I'll close with some random photos I took at the wedding-they had a gorgeous site called Robin Hill Park with an old Georgian mansion and gardens and etc. Until I blog again!

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(I know this one is a huge mistake but I actually ended up liking the rainbow effect of the glare.)
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And this one is my favorite.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered

Just a quick drive-by recipe. Sorry for the lack of posting on Monday, I ended up working instead of being off as usual and I could not get it together sufficiently to blog. I did knit a hat.

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Almost embarrassingly easy one skein hat pattern that I found via the Livejournal knitting community. I'll be making several of these for various relatives.

Monday, when I was supposed to be blogging and ended up working and shopping instead, I bought a bunch of vegetables and wanted to eat some of them. It is a coolish evening and I thought a nice fresh soup would be just the thing. So was born "3B Soup". The three B's being Beef, Broccoli, and Bok Choy.

I think the key to this is really the soup base. I made a lot of greens over the summer (and will continue to do so as long as they're available) and when I make greens, I tend to have a lot of broth left over. Broth from greens makes a wonderful soup base, full of flavor and so hearty. I freeze it and use it later, either in more greens, or in soup, like I did today. If you don't have homemade vegetable soup base in your fridge, you can use any type of vegetable broth.

Ingredients
1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
One medium rutabaga, cubed
One good-sized stalk of bok choy, chunked
Two broccoli "trees", chunked
Three small to medium carrots, chunked
One sweet onion, sliced or chunked
As much garlic as you want
Salt and pepper to taste
(You can cut up the veggies any way you like, but it always looks and eats better if you keep the pieces a consistent size. In other words, don't dice the carrots tiny and have big hunks of broccoli floating around. I like to leave veggies like broccoli and cauliflower in large chunks because they can overcook so easily.)


Place ground beef in frying pan on medium and break up well. Put broth in soup pot on medium heat,add rutabaga and carrots, and garlic, cover. When the beef gets going well, add the onion to the beef and brown them together. Drain well. Add bok choy and broccoli to broth, put drained meat and onion on top, cover and bring to a boil. Stir well and turn down to simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until rutabaga is cooked.

You can substitute potatoes for the rutabaga, or do an East Asian version with a splash of soy or teriyaki sauce, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots. You can use cubed beef, chicken, or pork in place of the ground beef too, I used it because it was what I had thawed out.

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It looks good and tastes great!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Thanks to the I.L.G. we're paying our way

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." --Abraham Lincoln


Happy Labor Day to all my fellow wage-slaves out there. Today will be a mixed bag of sorts because I have no direction and no capability for cohesive thought at the moment to get a thinky post together.

First up, strangely enough, a recipe. I made this yesterday and we proclaimed it good.

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Sauteed pork in pesto wine sauce

Approx 1.5 pounds of cubed pork. I used center cut rib chops, boneless, and cubed them.
Two cups of dry white wine (always use wine you'd drink, none of that cooking wine, eww)
Two tablespoons pesto
Olive oil
Frozen asparagus, thawed and cut into one-inch pieces
One cup sliced mushrooms of choice
Fresh garlic to taste
Large sweet onion
Black pepper
Flour for dredging, seasoned with salt and pepper if desired
Half to 3/4 pound of pasta of choice.

On medium-high heat in a deep skillet or wok, sautee onion, mushroom, and garlic cloves in olive oil until browned and tender. While that's cooking, dredge cubed pork in flour.

Remove onion, garlic, and mushrooms from olive oil and put the cubed pork in the pan, adding oil if needed. Cook until brown on both sides. Put the OGM mix back in and stir. Add the wine and bring to a near boil. Add pesto, fresh black pepper to taste, and asparagus. Stir to mix pesto well with sauce and cover, reducing to a simmer while you cook the pasta.

Serve over pasta. You're done! It's good.

I made that yesterday after we came back from Frick Park, where we went with the dogs to enjoy the gorgeous weather, which was perfect for a long walk in the park. I really pushed myself hard, I have not walked on trails since before the accident and parts of these trails were steep and hard going, and some had steps. I made it ok, though. Worn out but OK. My leg wasn't talking to me last night but it's ok today, so we'll have to do that more often.

I took some random pictures, here's some highlights.

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We walked up to the corner ice cream shop after and had a cone. It was a nice day.

Dylan (the larger corgi, the one with the V on his head) is having some problems. He's getting older and he's starting to have back trouble in that he's losing control of his back legs sometimes. The vet put him on a course of steroids which seemed to help but just a little. If that doesn't work, options are limited as surgery is horribly expensive and not guaranteed to work IF it's a disc problem. It also might be a disease called Degenerative Myleopathy, corgis are prone to it and it's pretty much incurable and can't really even be treated. It causes paralysis starting from the back legs and is always fatal, but it's painless. Much of the time when you see a corgi using a cart, it's because they have DM. So we'll see what happens and make sure he has the best quality of life we can give him in any case.

We have grasshoppers infesting our lamb's ears plants.
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Quite the little colony going there.

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In crafting, I have two pair of socks in progress and can only show photos of one.
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These are "Angee" from the Cookie A book. They're probably going to be for my mom.

Also spinning the orange Border Leicester from the Waynesburg sheep and fiber thing. This is working out to a nice laceweight two-ply, though I have no idea what I'm going to do with it yet.

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It's very creamsicle when spun up.

Maybe a thinky post later in the week. Until then... look for the union label!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

drive by video

This is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I kid you not.