Sunday, November 25, 2007

The turkey that was

A success!! The Turkey. Was. Awesome. Juicy white meat so tender a knitfe was not necessary. Back flavors of apple and basil and garlic. And who needs gravy when the pan juices are fantasic?

As I surmised, the macaroni and cheese was the best I have ever made. I used shells and farfalle mixed and poiled in heavily salted water. Then for the cheese blend, it was an 8 oz bag of sharp cheddar, an 8 oz bag of colby jack mixed, and about 4 oz of shredded fontina left over from when Chef made pizzas with wheat crust from scratch. The mac-n-cheese was excellent.

I became a potato snob about 4 years ago upon discovering yukon gold oe yellow fingerling potatoes. Nothing else will please me the same for mashed potatoes, and in general, russets are so terribly pedestrian. When I make mashed, we add a wee wedge of St Andre cheese. Creamy.

EB went to the stoore and took my phone so she could consult as needed for the list. When she got to the St Andre, she called for there was none. I told her any brie or other soft cheese they have would be fine. She ended up gettng Cambazola(sp?) and I wondered if the bleu in it might be too strong, but the Universe has been so good to us of late that I was not sweating it terribly. When I got the potatoes out of the bag, I knew right away they were russets. Eww. Due to no fault od eb's, the bag says in big shiny yellow letters, Pacific Gold (and then in wee teeny tiny letters) russet potatoes. Branding fuckers. They deliberately used trickery to deceive the gold/yellow potato buying public.

The potatoes, despite their inferior russet status, in conjunction with the Cambazola (and some cream and some butter...just a touch I swear) were not too bad. Of the leftovers, that is about all there is left. That and a turkey leg.

It beinf Thanksgiving and all, we were allowed dessert. I was going to make Grandma Mary's Sour Cream Pound Cake, but alas, there was no sour cream in the fridge and eb had done so well at the store, I was in no way going to send her back out again. So online I went to look for a more generic pound cake recipe. Google to the rescue, nearly top of the list was an apple cider pound cake recipe, and given the apple theme so far it seemed an immediate winner.

o. mi. god. I can't say enough to do it justice other than to let you know a cake that usually hangs out around here for a week or so is G. O. N. E. Apple cider in the batter and a fresh caramel glaze on top were a huge hit. Don't let Grandma Mary know her recipe might be shuffled down the list for a while.

We are now off to Texas Art Supply and then to Costco. Woohoo.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving yarny goodness

I was going to make this a picture heavy post, but I can't find the camera cord and the camera cord stasher is still sleeping. And it is Thanksgiving, afterall, so I will let her sleep. (It's a reasonable hour and I am adding some pics...)

Me? I was up at 5:20 this morning. I decided the peace and quiet of te early morning was boding well for casting on the Kushu Kushu scarf. The Kushu is a kit by Habu and I either love it or I hate it, I am not quite sure yet, but I am guessing I love it if I am not sure enought to continue on blind faith.

The Kushu is a scarf made with ultra-fine merino and silk stainless steel. That's right, I said stainless steel, but it is stainless steel wrapped in silk. See why a picture would have been nice? Both of these yarns are really fine. Lke sewing thread fine. And I am using, as per the pattern directions, a size 8 needle. At some future point I will change to a size 6. Then a four and finally a three. The latter two sizes will be knitting the Silk stainless steel solo, sans merino. I am intrigued to say the least.

The instructions, it's so bold of Habu to call them instructions, are a schematic. I am really glad that the sales clerk took the time to open the kit and explain the schematic to me, because it is brilliant in its simplicity and I would have otherwise been staring at it saying What. The. Fuck. As I cast on and knit the firt row, I decided I would put blind faith in the Universe that Kushu would turn out as intended. It's all good.

Habu is a Japanese company and apparentlly knitting is not knitting the world over. Well, I guess knitting is knitting, but patterns and schematics vary widely. I totally resist charted knitting, I think, because it is more work than my brain wants to do. I go with the flow and trust that the Universe is just not ready for me to read charts.

This schematic is brief. Way brief. But it truly offers all the information you need to knit Kushu Kushu. However...the schematic page says nothing about what stitch is to be used. Since there is no mention of purling anywhere, I went with garter stitch. Then, I went back to the cover page before emailing the company and asking (for confirmation before I knit too far) because it is Thanksgiving and I know no answer would be forthcoming, at least not today.

No, not garter stitch, but stockinette (which I thought had a g in it?). So my first 6 rows are garter and I can't see that it will matter. I plan to knit 6 rows further before I decide if it matters enough to rip it out and start again. The piece will be lightly felted when complete, so I might leave it as is.

The process of Kushu is totally consuming. It is such a simple basic pattern, but this is far from mindless knitting. It requires the solitude of early morning for concentration to be optimal.

To contrast my thread knitting, I also bought two skeins of Yosemite (might have to scroll down) by Trendsetter Yarns. I got color 78, Watermelon Slice. It is divine, and soft. And uber-chunky. I question my sanity everytime I grab anything this bulky as I live in Houston, but c'mon, it's gorgeous. I know, a pic would be nice, yes? I will add pics in a little while, perhaps after the brining turkey gets in the oven, perhaps before.

Food. Can't have a Thanksgiving day post and not talk about the food. I just mixed up the mac-n-cheese and I dare say it might be the best mac-n-cheese I have ever made. Ever. Best ever. This is a good sign as the turkey is a new venture and might suck. At least I know we will be slamming down some mac-n-cheese that is muy excellente.

The turkey is brining as explained here. I don't think an issue of Saveur comes out that doesn't have at least one thing I want to try. It's always about expanding my domestic horizons. I have a wife to keep satisfied, afterall.

The turkey has been brining overnight in cider, salt, dark brown sugar, apples, and garlic. 35 cloves of garlic, thank you very much. The turkey will cook at 425 for 2 hours. Hot and fast as turkey cooking goes. Again, I am intrigued.

I am also making mashed potatoes, and something green. I was going to make broccolini, but the store was out when eb went yesterday. Or she couldn't find it, but we will go with her story, they didn't have any. So I told her to just get something green. She brought home broccoli. And zucchini. And snap peas. And asparagus. And spinach. So we will be having at least one green vegetable.

And rolls. If they have any when I go to the store at noon.

I also made some jalapeno dip mixing whipped cream cheese with a jar of jalapeno relish we got last weekend at Gruene Market Days. This morning I am making us a veggie scramble and adding some dip at the end of the cooking. Just because.

Pics soon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

contemplating a new tattoo

I have never been able to add a photo directly to my blog because I was on a Mac and the feature wasn't available. Neither was spell check. Go figure. Recently, EB showed me the feature and it certainly makes it easier not having to first upload to Flickr and then blog it from Flickr, though honestly, that was easy enough.

It is a bit of a light time at work so today, I was learning how to crop an image in photoshop using the pen tool and the convert point tool. Of course the test will come when I try to do it again and can't remember what the hell I did. It was weird because I was mostly getting it, but not really cognitive of what exactly I was doing. The above image is the result.

When we were last in NYC, we went again to Pearl River Market. It is an Asian import market, and if you can't find it there, it might not exist. I think there prices are pretty reasonable, and surely a comparable place exists in Houston, but I just haven't found it yet.

So anyway, I bought a modest ammount of paper goods. A few packs of crane origami paper made it into my basket which I think will be used for wallpaper as I transform more of my dad's old pics. I also got a few small note pads that are a recycled paper with a graphic cover. One of them was the above image. I think it is going on the inside of my left calf at roughly 4 inches. I think baby buddha might sit on a lotus flower or be surrounded with clouds. Or maybe a burst of light like that surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe.

I thinnk I might need to commission my wife.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Holy Vaginistas, Teresa is 40!

I was looking throught my blog entries for September 2004. That is when I turned the big 40. As I sit here listening to holiday music on my iPod, I can feel the rosy glow as if it were only yesterday. Relatively, it seems as if I am 40 still. I think 40 is that kind of landmark year. I think I might feel 40 until I am 52 (the magical AARP year). Truthfully, I think I feel 37, but that isn't what today is about. Today is all about Teresa turning 40.

Happy Birthday Teresa!!

So while I was browsing my archives, I found a post from the last day of my 39th year. I had gotten a card from my mom for my birthday with the standard $50 check. There was a note inside. My mom always includes a note because she thinks it is ridiculous to send a card for anything and not include some sort of personalized note. My mom and I have never been overly affectionate so imagine the tears in my eyes after reading this:

"Put 9-11 in the back of your mind and never forget.

But in the forefront of all your thinking know that on Sept. 11, 1964

a bundle of joy and delight brightened our door.

In your future always remember to put your many talents to good use for yourself and all womankind.
Love Mom--

P.S. I just was reading this over and it almost sounds like preaching. Or maybe I should get to work and
get that book started."

This is the most intimate sentiment ever expressed to me by my mother. And it is a totally auspicious beginning to my forties. It truly has only gotten better as each day passes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Deck the halls

Following one of Weese's handy tips couldn't be easier. I think with Thanksgiving being somewhat early this year, we got the timing right even though there are those of you who mocked us.

The trees are up, yes this year there are three of them, and the lights are on. We have a 7 foot tree that eb put lights on last night. I was feeling a bit under the weather this past weekend and helped as I could. The 7 foot tree in in the library which is where we hang out lately, and it is in the front window.

A few weeks ago I got a 5 foot tree that is prelit from JCP. It retails for 120 and I got it for 38 after all the sales and discounts. I still like it, but it isn't quite as stable as we would like. It is on the cabinet formerly known as the TV stand in the great room. We hang out in there a lot as well, and that tree will showcase some of our more special ornaments.

The third tree is a metal stand which crisscrosses in layers and is a matte gold color. There are all sorts of loopdeloos on which to display ornaments. It resides on top of one of our 9 cubbies and will also showcase some of our fragile ornaments.

We still have a lot of ornaments to unpack, I am guessing that while the oven is abaking this evening, tissue paper will be aflying. I thnk there are a few santa figures that are booked for return rngagements this year, too, and I am sure we will come across those this evening.

The outside stuff will need a quick inventory and maybe, just maybe, it will get put up. That is often the challenge of decorating for the holidays when it is still in the 80s. I am thinking blue lights across the front of the house on the horizontal, not up to the eaves, but that is eb's decision because either way, I don't do ladders. A couple of years ago I saw a house that had totally outlined their landscaping on the ground and I thought that would be interesting, but the front yard is on the big side and that would be a lot of lights. I sort of fance the multi colored big bulbe poking out cactus like from the front lamp post or maybe a big red bow. Hmmm.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My first sweater is finished!

Nov 2007 005
Originally uploaded by queenmaxine
I was done with the knitting over the weekend. On Monday night, I met up with Faith to sit and knit at Panera in the early evening. While there I wove in all the ends. Wednesday morning I sewed up one side seam, and Wednesday evening the other. 'Skully' is from Stitch N Bitch and is made with Lamb's pride Bulky in Bronze Patina(6 skeins) and Sunburst Gold(1 skein).
Tres warm! Like warm enough (for eb, it's her sweater, of course) to wear in CT in February or something.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Woohoo!! I found out yesterday that "A Good Cigar" (see post below) sold at the silent auction gala. We were unable to go this year and the Dia de los Muertos exhibit is coming down today. We totally should have gone to the Lawndale on Sunday. Hopefully next year we will both get tins done and then we can make a night of it.

Elizabeth's sweater, Skully, is nearly done. I have finished the knitting and weaving in of ends. I sewed onw seam up this morning and the other will be sewn either tonight or tomorrow. Pics to follow.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Post Slacker

It's been a few weeks of "Oh, I should blog about xxx..." and then when it comes to blogging time I got nuttin'. It's weird how it goes in cycles but I certainly see it on others' blogs. I know it isn't anything new.

The biggest news is I have taken on a third part time job two nights a week at my favorite yarn shop. This last week, which was my first there, I worked three nights, which already I know was too many. Not physically too many, but more time than I care to spend there as an employee. I was hired on as part time help while one of the women there is out on maternity leave and as holiday help. I am not sure this will go past January. At that time I might switch to an as needed status.

I think I have JCP whittled down to a manageable 11-13 hours a week (2 days). I would maybe like it better at just Saturday, but I have to work enough hours so that my income there covers the cost of my benefits which I am eligible for through the end of 2008. It's a thing of beauty. I can't wait to see what my PTO forecast is for 2008. It will be maximized to be certain. When my eligibility expires I am not sure what will become of JCP, but that is 14 months from now so no need for a hasty decision.

So at the yarn shop, my 2 nights equal about 8 hours. As eb's assistant I am consistent at 22 hours right now, but I would like to ramp that up a little. I think next week will be 26, and I might hang out there for a bit to see how it goes.

In other news, the cat is out of the bag in regards to our tenth anniversary trip next summer. We are doing an Alaska cruise in May. A little before our actual anni date, but that was when the sock cruise was scheduled, so who am I to argue the dates? I really need to try a funky pattern type of sock before the cruise, maybe monkey or .pomatomus. I am not sure what the knitting classes will cover, but it will definitely be sock related. There is talk of a support group for the knitter's spouses that will meet at the bar when we are in class. Could be eb's thing but I imagine the other spouses are likely men. Maybe not so much her thing. Regardless, I am sure we will have a good time on this, our first cruise. More later, off to Lowes.

So at Lowes, eb got some tiling accoutrements and I toured the xmas aisles. Then as we were getting ready to go, we spy the Stanley FatMax. Weese, you know you want one. It is an early xmas gift and I think we might eventually have more than one. I can see one as an artist catch all, plenty of room for eb to load it with paints. It might be a feasible traveling studio.
still, maybe more later...