Wednesday, January 31, 2007

now i'm getting excited!

01 - mailbox

02 - house

46 - detail of he stairs

10 - hippie in the kitchen
we had our inspection on monday, which went REALLY well. i basically spent two hours walking through the house taking pictures in between arguing with the hippie about what color everything should be, where the furniture all needed to go, who gets the bookshelves in HER room, and what all we need to buy. a fun couple of hours, and definitely a pleasant way to spend a monday morning. now that the inspection is done, and we have nothing major in need to repair, we have both given in and gotten excited! we're set to close on february 23rd, and then we're hoping to spend the next motnh painting and slowing moving all our massive piles of books over there. then at the end of march, we will, in true first-house-together fashion, elicit all the help of all the men and boys we know to carry in the heavy things. whew! i am a little overwhelmed just thinking about all we have to do. the one thing we MUST buy is a refridgerator, but there are so many other things we WANT--that's overwhelming, too. we are following the advice of many friends and just moving in with what we've got before we go nuts and start ordering 47-inch LCD televisions thousands of dollars worth of furniture. anyway, thanks to y'all for all the well-wishes so far, and PLEASE keep thinking the good thoughts our way--a million things could still go wrong. fingers crossed, people!

if you are interested, i have added a few (read: 97) pictures to the flickr set of house pictures--it's the whole walking tour of the house! please don't feel obligated to look at all these pictures, but also know that we're happy to share and have you peruse. if you DO go a-lookin', i recommend NOT using the slide show option and scrolling through instead, as the titles will help you know what the hell you're seeing.

YAY for the new house!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

warm hands

fingerless glove
just so y'all don't think i am dead or something, here's something to look at. my office is COLD--always. and my hands get REALLY cold because i sit there and type on a computer all day. so. in want of a quick and dirty knitting project, i made myself some fingerless gloves from last minute knitted gifts. these are made from (surprise!) my beloved julia. i had this yarn leftover from the eggplant hat and matching baby sweater i made a gajillion years ago, so i used it up. even though a skein of this yarn is just 93 yards, i had plenty for the pair with some to spare. whoo hoo! anyway--i will post some more house pics tomorrow, but for now, i just wanted y'all to know i was still here, and that my hands are now warm.

by the way--we are through inspection on the house--things are moving right along...

Friday, January 26, 2007

plug for a local bakery

paris cake
how gorgeous is this cake? and here's the thing: it tastes better than it looks. this is the paris cake from a local bakery and cafe here in raleigh called hereghty. their tag line is "heavenly delicious," and they are NOT kidding! their sandwiches, soups, and salads are as lovely as their desserts, and all are exquisite. the counter service is casual, but very friendly and helpful. i can't recommend them highly enough as a post-spa lunch locale (they are located beside synergy, my favorite local spa), a great after-date dessert and wine place, or a place to get a cake for a birthday, dinner party, etc. this cake was 6 inches, and it was plenty for post-symphony and wine last saturday. i bought it right out of the case the day of--they usually have a few in stock. here's where you can find them:

2603 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 123
Raleigh, North Carolina 27608

ps--they also do a high tea in the afternoon if you like that sort of thing, but, fyi, you need a reservation. the teas are from mighty leaf, one of my faves as well.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

ok, here's what it looks like

realtor's photo of our new house
now that we have an inspection set up and a closing date, i have decided it's safe to post a picture of the house. i am still not allowing myself to get excited, but i AM shopping for refridgerators. the hippie--he's shopping for televisions instead. i guess we all have our own ways of nesting. anyway--cross your fingers that things go smoothly this time around. if they do, in a month, we'll be homeowners. whoo hoo.* now all i need is for someone to give me a $20k furniture allowance, and i will be all good.

* see how there's no explanation point there? that's me, not being excited. not excited at all...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007


so. we're looking at a house. i refuse to say much about it or post any pictures of it. last year i waited until we had an offer in and accepted to get excited, and then the rug was pulled out from under us by unexpected circumstances. and well--the same thing could happen again. and we're not even sure. but. we're thinking about it. man, this scares the crap out of me. if i am absent from blog posting, it's because i am staring at the MLS page. and if we decide to jump--i'll let you know. wish us luck.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

ask and ye shall receive

what was it, like a week ago that i asked for snow? well--i got some! not a lot, mind you. not enough to have me snowed in, on my couch with a fire going, making some stew, watching all of season 4 of 24 in real time, and knitting up a storm, but still. maybe i should be more specific next time i wish for something... anyway--i am like a kid when it snows--i get all excited, which the hippie thinks is just ridiculous. but i can't help it! maybe it's having grown up in the South where it doesn't happen very often. it's raining now, and the snow is all going to melt, but it was still awfully pretty to wake up to! it was colder than the beejeezus this morning, too--and i went outside in my PJs to snap this picture of these cute little birds, who didn't seem to mind the weather in the slightest. yay for winter! (you know, for a few days until i get sick of being cold and want may in january back again.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

project spectrum

i know this is going to come as a shock to you guys, but here goes. i like to make stuff. always have. i have done this as a professional, a business owner, and/or a hobbyist in various forms all of my life. and here's the thing: i work best when given constraints within which to work. if i am left completely to my own devices, i sometimes just look at all my art and craft supplies and end up flailing around in all the possibilities. i am far more creative when told that i have to match something or if i can only use a certain palette or that it has to stay below a certain cost or that i have a time limit. so, after reading lolly's blog post about it and a conversation with THK, i have decided to join project spectrum this year. the idea, at least as i see it, is to break yourself out of a creative rut by focussing on particular colors for two-month blocks of time. this sounds perfect for me, and i already have a bunch of ideas floating around in my head. i kind of can't wait. the project begins on february 1st, so stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

isn't this pretty?

bowl of green hat
it's a shame i am about to rip the whole thing out. one mistake i could have lived with (maybe), but not two. lesson learned--no knitting lacey bits with a bunch of other people in the house. i am just not that good yet.

Monday, January 15, 2007

30-minute dinner for two: shrimp and vegetable stir-fry

shrimp and vegetable stir-fry
THK asked me for this recipe. therefore i am sharing it with all of you. and, although it is basic, it's also amazingly fast, flexible, and healthy. it's also delicious--it's what a crave when i am sick of eating crap and want somehting good for me and also yummy. i have been known to make this while sick as a dog and half-delirious just so i can have all the fresh vegetables in something hot with a lot of flavor. but i digress...

  • a few tablespoons olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic*
  • ~1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger*
  • ~3/4 lb peeled and deveined shrimp (i buy them already cleaned)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms, mixed (this has shitake and white button)
  • ~1/3 cup cashews
  • 1 broccoli crown
  • a handful of snowpeas


cut everything into bite-sized pieces. put oil*, soy sauce, garlic (minced or through a press), and ginger to a large pan or wok. heat until oil is very hot. add shrimp and sauté just until cooked through, about 3 minutes. remove from pan and reserve. add a little more soy sauce, the cashews, and all the vegetable except the broccoli and snow peas. sauté for about 5 minutes until the onions start to become a little translucent and the mushrooms bein to release liquid. add the broccoli and snow peas and saute for about 3 minutes more. add the shrimp back to the pan and stir until heated through. serve immediately either plain or with rice. add soy sauce, asian hot pepper sauces (like sambal oelek--mmmm), and chili oil at will. i like this with steamed brown or jasmine rice. oh--one note--to give jasmine rice a little kick, add some chopped scallions and shredded carrot. YUM!

note that, although i am specifying certain vegetables and shrimp for this stir-fry, you can use just about anything in it: chicken, steak, french beans, squash, zuchini, bean sprouts (add near the end), asparagus, almonds, walnuts, chili oil, etc. don't be afraid to be creative and experiment!

* i totally cheat on this--i periodically go to the asian market and buy ginger and garlic oil. then when i am in a hurry, i use the oils in place of fresh garlic and ginger. it's almost as good, and so fast! :)

Saturday, January 13, 2007


lucious green malabrigo
ran into the yarn store for 5 minutes to get some green worsted weight yarn to make a little umbrella hat for gabriella--came out with this lovely pile of bright green malabrigo! it's enough for a hat AND a sweater for my surrogate little girl! whoo hoo! i can't WAIT to wind this stuff up and get going on the hat tomorrow when THK comes over to play!!! this is what happens when you fill up your frequent buyer card and get a pile of yarn for almost free! i am SO GLAD my LYS is carying this stuff now!

Friday, January 12, 2007

odds and ends

kerstin's felted bag
we had an extra knitting lunch today, and kerstin brought her knitting in this bag, which i made for her for christmas this year. makes me so happy to see my knitted goods in use! this one may be my favorite felted bag, which is saying something when you consider the fact that i have made about 15 of these babies. i thought the novelty yarn was going to be too subtle on this one, but in the end, i really, really like how it came out. this pattern is a fiber trendsfelted tote bag, size small. the yarn is as follows: 3 skeins of lamb's pride bulky in periwinkle, and 2 skein of trendsetter charm. (i can't think of the color name to save my life!) this is knitted, single stranded, on size 13 circular needles, and the handles are knitted on size 11 straights. it's so easy i can make one in the dark now! i am just about to add the novelty yarn to the green one i am knitting for emily, so i'll show some pictures of it soon.

shrimp and vegetable stir-fry
this has been a week of healthy eating for me, with my only cheating being the use of raw sugar in my tea. that is one thing i cannot give up--i feel too deprived if i do, and then i end up cheating in mush worse ways. ways like eating a whole oatmeal raisin cookie from starbucks. so yeah--a few tsp of raw sugar a day isn't so bad. anyway. i was making this shrimp and vegetable stir-fry the other night and was just blown away by how beautiful all the colors and textures were. food is such an aesthetic experience for me. i find that if i commit to cooking, i actually prefer to eat realy healthy foods--all those vegetables are just pretty. for more beautiful and healthy foods, check out charlie brown's gourmet set on flickr, and the wonderful food blog, 28 cooks.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

little things

revolution bombay chai

this week, i have been dieting and going to the gym and thinking an awful lot about my health, both mental and physical. i am making a concerted effort to be nicer to and take better care of both my body and my spirit. it's not really a new year's resolution so much as it is a much-needed mental shift. i have been really trying to do at least one nice thing for myself every day--read some of a book just for fun, knit a little, give myself a facial mask, etc. and yesterday when i ran into this little swank grocery store near my house to grab something i needed to make dinner, i saw these fabulous little packs of revolution tea--sampler packs of 5 teas each. the packaging is just beautiful, and the teas i have had from this company before were lovely, so i indulged. last night i made a cup of bombay chai tea from this little box. it was HEAVEN. if you have never tried these teas before, let me just say--you must. the tea bags are little silken pouches, and the smells are lovely, and the tastes are subtle and delightful. get some. it's like taking a hot bath just to drink one cup.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

scarves and other knitting stuff

scarves for me

big fat red cabled scarf, detail
one thing about being sick for so long, it gives you some time to finish up some knitting. since christmas, i have finished both the purl scarf and the big fat red cabled scarf. i left the mistake in the red scarf. yes--it's still bugging me. but not enough to make me frog it. it's for me and not a gift, so i have decided to let it be my deliberate mistake as though i were a rug maker. there is only one allah and only allah can make a perfect scarf. or something. anyway. too bad it's been too cold to wear these babies! actually, today it was cold, but i had to wear my clapotis--i am still so in love with it. but tomorrow, one of these beauties is going out the door with me. oh, and yes--i know--the fringe on the purl scarf is out of hand! i intend to take about half of that back off. the purl scarf is two skeins of manos del uraguay and two different colors of kidsilk haze, 1 skein each. it may be the longest scarf in recorded history not worn by an eccentric, time-traveling, british man. did i mention that it has too much fringe? the red cabled scarf is 3 skeins of rowan big wool, and i LOVE how poofy and soft it is. both of these scarves are for ME! :)

dream swatch, FO rolled up
and just for completeness, here's a picture of the dream swatch, all finished up. i still love the noro sakura for this pattern, and man, it was a joy to knit. it went so fast! the truth is that i love almost all of wendy bernard's patterns. i am hoping to make my first, real, fitted, for-me-to-wear garment this year, and i am 99% sure it's going to be something from wendy. i'll keep you posted.

on the needles right now are yet another felted bag (it's for emily who has no time to knit it herself) and a hat, which is not going all that well. the hat is for my friend marilyn and is my first attempt at knitting design. the problem is that this hat is fair isle, and i am not all that experienced with it yet. i knitted it up, and it was all pucker-y, so i frogged and started again. but now i think it may be too big. anyway--i think it's going to be pretty when i get it finished--it's in my beloved julia in a wonderful dark chocolate brown, two colors of bright pink, and just a smidge of green. i'll take a picture as soon at there's something to show.

ps--i am back on track and updating my weight loss blog regularly--the link is in the sidebar if you're interested.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

winter sky

winter sky
apparently the sky knows it's winter, even if the weather hasn't quite caught up. it was over 70 degrees here yesterday! my dafodils are blooming! they are saying that this coming summer is going to be the hottest on record in north carolina. is it wrong that i just want it to snow?

Friday, January 05, 2007

if you feel like crap...

then it's important to gather to you all the things that comfort you in your time of need. i recommend kitties. they are perfect napping companions, often continuing to nap even after you have given up and gotten out of the bed. chocolate ice cream and hot tea with honey and rum are also recommended. and books. and good TV. and knitting.

on the twelfth day of christmas...

today is the twelfth day of christmas, which means my true love should be giving me all kinds of stuff. instead, we are both sick, and i am pretty sure viruses don't count as gifts. besides--i gave this one to him, so that wouldn't count anyway. however, i am not here to whine about the illness that plagues our house, but rather to offer you some of the delights this christmas season has had to offer.

way back on the 16th of december, my company had an office holiday party, for which i made these eclairs. i learned to make these from my wonderful friend mary a couple of christmases ago, and i must tell you--they are both easy and FABULOUS. i work with a man whose wife is from paris, and she ate five of these at the party. at the end of the night--they were the only dessert that was all gone. i was so proud. however, i will never tell the french woman how cheater-y these things are--the instant pudding in the cream filling is just going to remain my dirty little secret! :)

spider mum

silliness in profile
in preparation for the holiday, i bought my traditional boquet of holiday flowers, which included these lovely lime green spider mums. believe it or not, they are still pretty! i also wrapped a ton of presents in a ton of lovely papers, and knitted wash cloths till my fingers about fell off. i also managed to finish a big fat cabled scarf for my friend amy. the pictures of it didn't come out very well, but it was actually quite pretty--and so soft! i love misti alpaca!!! so does amy, so that turned out well. i also gave my friend kerstin a lavender felted bag, but i forgot to take a picture of it! oh well--i will sneak one during a knitting lunch sometime. i received some wonderful yarn for christmas, and i also got my very own amazingly fabulous elf slippers from THK. i have been wearing them nearly every day for the whole season!
note: that picture is stolen from her photostream. must give credit where it's due. :)

christmas eve dinner
the hippie and i spent christmas eve on our own this year, which was a first for us. while it was a bit odd not to make a giant dinner for friends and have a bunch of children around ripping open their gifts with glee, it was actually rather delightful to be low key. we made a simple splurge-y dinner of filet mignon, lobster tails with rosemary and clarified butter, and grilled vegetables. add a bottle of red wine, and lay it all out on the lovely christmas table, and you have yourself a fabulous meal. and you know, being able to share it at home in shorts and yoga pants was pretty cool, too. afterwards we opened our gifts, as we always do on christmas eve, and that, too, was delightful. the hippie and i kept it pretty simple between us this year (even though i love everything he gave me), but we received so much wonderful stuff from other people that it was still really fun opening everything up.

according to the jackie/hippie tradition, we got up at early o'clock and drove to my parents' house for christmas day. this year was a bit subdued due to the fact that my brother jay was not there--we generally sit up half the night talking to him. also, this was my niece kimberly's last christmas with the family for a while--she moved to costo rica with her husband this past weekend. we went a-visiting in the evening to see my oldest friend kimmie and her family, and then worked a jigsaw puzzle with my mother for the rest of the evening. little did we know that my typhoid mother was carrying the plague and was about to give it to us!!!

moving right along... we spent the second day of christmas with my physics/beach friends. this is ella, our friends jeff and carrie's daughter--she's fun and precocious and a little beauty and doesn't sit still for a SECOND. i took about 30 pictures of her, and this was the only one with any clarity at all! we all manage to get together still for the beach every summer and one night over the chrismas holidays, which i think is something of a miracle. the third day of christmas, after the physics folks had vacated the premises, i managed to sqeeze in tea with alyce, who was in town visiting her family. it's always so great to see everyone, and i am grateful for friends who make time for us even though all of us are crazy busy people!

bunny for a pillow
all these festivities left poor scout EXHAUSTED! she had to take a little nap on the bunny the hippie knitted for me. and believe me, since the day after christmas, i have been right there with her--napping on the couch. and in the bed. and sitting in the back room. and pretty much anywhere i could. i wish i was napping now. but i digress...

we have one more christmas celebration to go, with harry and jenn and gabriella, before we can call this season totally quits--that will take place tomorrow night. sunday, i will take the tree down, pack away the decorations, and officially move on into the new year. until then--merry christmas, people! hope y'all had a good one!

Monday, January 01, 2007

happy new year, people!

new years day

don't worry--i will write more soon. i promise. i'm not dead, just sick. but for now, eat your peas and greens and have good luck in the coming year. and thanks for bothering to read my drivel for another year, too! :)