Friday, November 30, 2007


I'm marrying Elijah tomorrow. Buzz buzz buzz. I have too much energy. Almost packed. Almost ready to go. Almost almost almost.

I've been knitting. Furiously. The Monkeys were finished the other day, and it's too risky to work on the Starmore in this state, so I took out that emergency skein of Bearfoot Mountain Colors and cast it on for Cookie A's Hedera sock. This much is done so far today.
What else, what else. I have a list here. Oh. These are my Monkeys.
Hmmm. Hmmm... I don't know what else. I'll get back to you later.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Good days

I've been so busy the last couple of days that I haven't knit much.

Yesterday, Tzurriz and her mom threw me a bridal shower. It was great. I'm so touched. A bunch of the knitting buddies came, as well as my mother, Tzurriz's sister, and some ladies who have been my friends for, oh, 15-25 years. Pictures can be seen here.

I got some great loot. Lots of stuff from the registries that we need, and some very thoughtful and creative gifts. The hostesses also came up with some fun games, and there was super food. For the record, I broke one ribbon. I'm sure E will be happy to hear that.

Today was a good and busy day. It started with going downtown to the spa to take advantage of E's birthday gift. I got a massage, facial, and a no polish manicure. It was all great. I feel very relaxed, if sore from the massage. Thanks, E. After the spa, I met with the catering manager, talked to the florist, picked up my dress and ketubah, and finished up with the backer. It was a long day. Sigh. I'm glad I'm home. The programs are written and ready to print, too.

Now I'll get back to knitting.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The bird is the word

This is my last "visit" to Maryland. After this, I will be living here and visiting Chicago. Elijah and I (yes, that's the Amazing E's name) had Thanksgiving together yesterday. I have to say, it was a nice way to spend our last time together until we are married next weekend.

This is E himself doing his best GQ pose while sneaking more leftovers tonight.

I cooked. E helped. He did! Don't tell him, but he did most of the scut work like peeling things. However, he did make one of the dishes, and it was fabulous. On the menu was an Empire Kosher turkey breast, mashed potatoes (a la E), sweet potatoes, green beans, potato rolls, and home made apple pie.

Let me stop here to thank Elijah. When I make mashed potatoes, they are a shame on my Irish heritage. Mashed potatoes produced by my hand turn into glue and are truly revolting. E's were light and fluffy and totally awesome. Congratulations, E.

The turkey was not so nice. It was juicy and perfectly done. However, the meat had been freezer burned, so it had a funny taste and was a little spongy. Shame shame.

I want to give you to recipes. Well, actually two cooking guidelines. I cook by taste, and don't really measure things. When I took over cooking for my family on holidays a few years ago, I made it my mission to replace a couple of recipes. Those being the gravy (which had for years come from a foil pouch) and the sweet potatoes. I hated both gravy and sweet potatoes most of my life. The gravy was just weird and the sweet potatoes too sweet, like candy. I beg the forgiveness of my family for saying this, and don't ever wish to besmirch the memory of my grandmother, but I didn't like her gravy or sweet potatoes. After trying some other recipes, I've settled on two replacements. Port Gravy and Pecan Sweet Potatoes.

For the gravy:

Pan drippings
1 (or so) cups of water or turkey stock. Use chicken broth if you must, but use canned and not the godawful cube. You can make a weak stock from the neck if you have a free burner.
1 tsp-ish taragon
a little thyme
1/4 cup (or more) of port wine. Tawny is best.
1/4 cup whipping cream. This is not a Kosher recipe.
Salt and pepper to taste

Take the bird from the pan, draining any juices into the pan. Put the pan on the burner over medium heat, adding a little of the additional stock or water. Deglaze the pan well, scraping the brown bits with a spatula. Allow it all to simmer for a moment.

Pour the liquid, any veggies in the pan, and the turkey schmutz through a mesh strainer into a Pyrex cup or fat separator. Smash the solid things a little to release any good liquid hiding there. Discard the solids. Remove as much fat as you can from the broth. pour the broth into a 1 or 2 quart saucepan and add more liquid to make up two cups. Add the seasonings to taste. Turn on the heat and bring the stuff to a simmer.

Add 1/4 cup (or a little less) of the port. A little really goes a long way here, so you may want to add half, taste it, and add more. Drink any leftovers, if you're a mind. Don't waste good port; it will enhance your appetite for the meal ahead.

Mix a flour and cold water thickening mixture in a separate cup, making sure to break up any lumps. Over low heat, add a little at a time while whisking until the gravy is thick enough. The alcohol from the wine should be gone now. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream.

Serve over your favorite Thanksgiving vittles. Whew, this is rich stuff.

For the sweet potatoes:

3 pounds of sweet potaotes, peeled and cubed
8 ounces pecan halves
1 egg white
1/4 cup plus a little more brown sugar
a couple pats of butter
a sprinkle of cinnamon
a sprinkle of cumin
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Place the sweet potatoes in a saucepan big enough to hold them, and put them on over medium-low heat. Add the butter 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little salt and pepper. Cover the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the biggest pieces are tender. Stir occasionally during the cooking to keep the bottom from burning and to slightly mash the potatoes. At the end of cooking, you want some whole pieces and some mashed. While cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Take the pot off the heat and spread the potatoes in a small baking pan. Mix the nuts, a tablespoon or so of brown sugar, salt, pepper, cumin, cayanne, and the egg white in another bowl until everything is well coated. Spread the nuts over the potatoes and bake for 15 minutes until the nuts are crunchy.

Makes a nice sweet and savory dish.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Laid up

My condo is packed up. The Realtor is coming tomorrow. Mind you, it is not clean here, just packed. Flowers are ordered. Hair-doing is arranged. Dress is ready to be picked up. Cake is tasted. Menu is set. Musicians are hired. Wedding rings are purchased. Almost done. I'm in the home stretch just in time for a really bad flare up of the insidious stomach problem. I'd intended to go to knitting tonight, but I can't seem to get away from the necessary room for more than a half hour.

So I'm knitting from my little sack of unpacked yarn.This is the yarn that will stay with me through the move. Mostly it's the yarn for the Starmore along with the clapotis, my nearly done monkey socks, and an emergency skein of Bearfoot Mountain Colors sock yarn. You never know when you'll need that, and I intend to be prepared. I know you know.

I'm not the only one laid up.

I've had a sick kitty. It's Duncan. He's not been feeling well, and has been to the vet a lot. Poor guy. He's getting nervous kitty pills and some steroids for his problem. I hope he feels better soon.

Something in the water?


It seems like a lot of familial happiness is going on near me lately. Tzurriz is about to have her baby. I've gotten engaged and will be married in short order. And my friend Ginger just announced that she is pregnant with her and Tim's second child. So much happiness going around. It's wonderful.

And I'd like to put some talk to rest. I am not pregnant, even if I've gained a little weight. Getting married very soon after the engagement has to do with our priorities. And the weight has to do with recovering from my stomach ailment earlier this year.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Any one heard the weather predictions this weekend for hell?

On Friday I dug into my packed stash box a pulled out a monster hank of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Geisha in "Metamorphic". It's 995 yards of fingering weight mohair and silk and I got it for a steal at The Fold. ($28!) I wound that sucker by hand for two hours using my knees as a swift. I sure am glad I'm getting married. I'll have someone else's hands to use for that purpose....


I cast this on. Scott TC has been kind enough to model it for us.
What is it? Try this view.

Anyone seen the weather channel?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Somebody loves me

These are the prettiest chocolates I've ever seen.You see, tomorrow is my 31st birthday. I don't mind saying it. I'm wearing my thirty-dom as a badge of honor. The Amazing E's parents sent me these chocolates as a gift. According to the card, they believe that I need endorphins right now. They might be right.

I've eaten some of them. A few. Not too many. Really. I expect that the two dozen chocolates will at least last until Sunday. They're in great flavors as well. The Black Pepper was especially yummy, and the Chipotle was unexpectedly hot and exciting. Thanks Mom E and Dad E!

The Amazing E's gift came a week ago. He's sending me to a spa for half a day the week before the wedding.

And as promised, these are the finished Bribery socks. I guess the bribe worked.


Haaaahhhhh. Oh my.

I believe I've been sleep deprived for the better part of a year. In reality, I have been getting only 5-6 hours of sleep most nights since January, falling into a trap of trying to get enough done "today" so there might be a chance of rest "tomorrow." But as the saying goes, tomorrow never comes. For the last week, I've been getting 8-10 hours of sleep. If this keeps up, I may turn into a human. I might even resemble myself.

With my reduced wakefulness, I've managed a lot of knitting, to finish the wedding plans, and to finish yet another class towards my master's degree. I have four classes left. Two will be taken out east and transfer back. For the remaining two, I must fly back to Chicago for six Thursdays in each case. I will receive my master's in nonprofit management later than planned, but I will received it in about a year's time.

If my camera decides to work, I will show you knitting progress after I've had my coffee.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just in time for the wedding

Lots of things are happening.

First of all, I just finished two knitting projects. E's Bribery socks are done. I also knitted him a yarmulke, and that is done as well. Yay. The Starmore will not be done. No way. But I will work on it in our honeymoon little cabin in the woods.

Second, the boxes of gifts have started to arrive at E's workplace. We don't know who they're coming from because we'll not open them until after the wedding. But thank you, whoever you are.

Tonight is the meeting with the wedding planner guy to taste the food.

My home is mostly packed up.

Everything is arranged but my hair. Darn, I need to call that lady.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The registries are not under

Merry Gentlemen or Amazing E. But they are at Target and Crate and Barrel. We also have a little and neglected one on Amazon.

Fancy yarn is also welcomed...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Closer and closer

The wedding and the move are almost here.

I quit my job yesterday. (Well technically, I gave two weeks notice almost two weeks ago.) Working was just not leaving with the and energy to do the important things I need to do right now. I'd been trying to impress them, hoping to arrange remote work after I left. You know, to smooth over the transition financially. But that didn't seem to be working out, and I was running myself ragged. (So ragged that my stomach problems have returned). I became certain that I'd get to the wedding day sick, tired, frazzled, and not ready. Now I have time to get things done, and the energy to enjoy this time in my life. I think they're pissed off, but dude, I was a temp and they knew from the start I would leave. I'm trying not to feel too bad about it. I'm almost there.

So I can breathe again! I have three weeks to dedicate to packing, getting wedding plans finalized, taking care of my health, and saying good bye to my friends. Yay!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


All alone. No kitties. Kitties are both with the vet tonight. One kitty seems to have a problem that needs an overnight stay. Other kitty is spending the night with him.

Merry Gentelmen is alone. No kitties. No Amazing E.; he is in his home. I guess a night all alone isn't as nice as I thought.


You see, I'm moving in a month

Well, I'm leaving Chicago four weeks from today. We'll stop for a week in the mountains for a honeymoon and then on to Maryland. I started packing last weekend.: I'd like to have so some more time for packing, but first I have to buy some boxes. I suppose I'll do that today.

Over all, this is a good thing. I'm very happy that I'm going to Maryland. I'm thrilled to be marrying such a fantastic man. I'm excited about the wedding. We did move the date and location, but I think it's for the better. The event is basically planned. In these last few weeks, we have to hire the musician and sign the flower contract. And I have two guests I have to call and invite. But that's it.

What stresses me out is the moving. I should have quit my job, I think. Instead, I'm working until 11 days before the wedding. Our wedding budget is small, but I wanted to make sure we didn't have to go into debt for it. Additionally, we'll have to pay my mortgage, such that it is, until the condo sells. I wish I could rent it out month to month. So I decided to work a little r before the move. I thought the money I earn would help, threfore I'm trying to work out a deal in which I continue working for the bastion of capitalism, even on a part time after I leave. It would help, I think, to have something to do during the first couple of months until I find work. And of course a little extra money will help. So I'm trying to prove my worth and commitment to them for the final two weeks.

But packing seems like an enormous job. I'm only taking less than half of my things, but I have to get rid of a lot of stuff. Some of it can be thrown away. It's junk. But other stuff is still good. I'd like to make sure it goes to use. Today I'm putting lots of thing on ebay for sale cheap. And leaving here makes me a little sad. I own my home. I bought it when I was 25, and have lived here for over 5 years. It's my first place I've lived that was my own, and also the place where I've lived longest. At least since I was 9. Leaving is a little sad.