Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Endings and New Beginnings

It seems appropriate as my summer vacation comes to an end today and Flex day looms up tomorrow, to tie up some loose threads, so to speak, and bring a couple of projects to an end, before starting fresh on a new challenge.

So I finished up a little necklace of leaves and called that done. I had originally intended to pick up stitches all around it and use it as the base for a smoke ring, but I think I am finished with it and it will be more wearable as a necklace. Knit in Mini Mochi, which looks beautiful but behaves badly while knitting it.

Then I decided that the mermaid scarf in Malabrigo laceweight was no longer giving me any pleasure at all, so I bound that off as well. What is it? It is nothing. Just an 8" square of soft lace.

But my binding off and ending up was not all of the abortive attempt sort. I completed a second Ishbel shawlette, this one for Kristen. She loves the blueberry color and the cashmere softness, and I am quite pleased with how fast and easy this one went--less than 3 weeks start to finish.

And for new beginnings? I swatched Patons Classic Wool in the colorway Moss Heather to get started on a top-down raglan sweater from Custom Knits called Ingenue. Details to follow! This one will probably be for me, unless it turns out that I am not an ingenue, actually, and it knits up too small, as can happen to the best of us, in which case, well ther eis an actual ingenue in the house! :-)

Friday, August 14, 2009


We recently discovered the joys of Wagyu beef, and decided to try it in sukiyaki. Usually we only make sukiyaki in the winter, but it's been a cool summer and besides, we discovered the joys of wagyu beef!

What is wagyu? The word means simply Japanese beef, and it's actually a breed of cattle indigenous to Japan. The Japanese, although they didn't begin eating beef till the mid 19th century, have raised it to a fine art. But the most surprising thing about wagyu is that it is naturally low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat. Usually monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, while saturated fats, like butter and lard, are hard or at least solid at room temperature. Well wagyu beef, if you leave it at room temperature for a short time, almost begins to melt.

And in your mouth? It does melt.

The vegetables are also yummy: enoki mushrooms, shirataki (sort of noodles), nappa, green onions, tofu, bamboo shoots.

Unfortunately, I was too busy cooking and eating to take any pictures of the finished sukiyaki. But trust me, it was good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Read much?

I am marking as read any book that I finished, regardless of whether I now remember one thing about it (oh the joys of old age!) Y= yes, I read that. P= parts, one of the series N= nope. NHOI= Never heard of it.

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen -Y
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien -N
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte -Y
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - P
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee -Y
6 The Bible -Y (all of it!)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte -Y
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell -Y
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman -P
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens -Y
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott -Y
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy -Y
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller -Y
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare- (all of them?, uh no. but a dozen or so, probably)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier -Oh my yes!
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien -Y
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk -NHOI
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger -Y
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger- N
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot -(I'm not sure. Maybe. I read several of hers. Maybe this one?)
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell -Y
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald -Y
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens -N
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy -N
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams -N
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky -N
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck -Y
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll-N
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame-P
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy -N
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens -Y
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis -Yes, repeatedly
34 Emma-Jane Austen - Y
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen -Maybe
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis -(wait, this is part of the Chronicles of Narnia!)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -N
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres -NHOI
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden -N
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne -Y
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell -Y
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown -Y
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -N
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving-N
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins -N
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery -Y
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy -Maybe
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood -Y
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding - Y
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan -N
51 Life of Pi - Yann Marte l-Y
52 Dune - Frank Herbert -N
53 Cold Comfort Farm -N
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen-Y
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth -NHOI
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon -NHOI
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens -P
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - Y
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon - Y
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -N
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck - Y
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov-N
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt -Oh yeah. Fantastic, unforgettable.
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold -Y
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas -N
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac -Y
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy -I think so (graduate school is kind of a blur. I took a course in Victorian fiction, and speed-read a bunch of the, seems like this was one of them)
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding -hell no.
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie -N
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville -P
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens -Y
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker -N
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett -Y
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson -Y
75 Ulysses - James Joyce - N
76 The Inferno – Dante -N
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome -N
78 Germinal - Emile Zola -N
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray-N
80 Possession - AS Byatt –NHOI
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens -Y
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell -NHOI
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker -N
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro -N
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert-N
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry -NHOI
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White -Y
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom -what the hell is this doing on this list?
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -P
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton -NHOI
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad -Y
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery -N (I Know, I'm ashamed of this no.)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks -NHOI
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams -P
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole -N
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute -N
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas -N
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare -(see again, this is part of the Complete works, no? I did read Hamlet.)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - N
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo -N

So now I have to find out where this odd list came from. And if they're going to retroactively revoke my status as an English major....(I have read about 40 from the list.)

And, btw, the BBC part is apparently an urban legend. This is not the BBC list, nor did they say that most people only read 6 of them. I guess the BBC proofreads their lists....

Let me add a couple of suggestions to this list:

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Friday, August 7, 2009

Victorian Shoulderette

So this has been keeping me happy for a couple of weeks. I bought the yarn last April when I was in Chicago--it's natural alpaca, meaning the color of the yarn is the actual color it was on the alpaca. I like this shape and I enjoyed knitting the knitted on border.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

30 years and counting....

A couple of pictures from our quiet anniversary dinner. Kristen had a coupon to an Indian restaurant in Torrance, so we went out for a lovely dinner, just the 3 of us.