Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Myfanwe. Norbert. Nancy. Ben. Phil. Margie. David. Aaron. Leora. Chuck. Sheri. Chuck. Shari. Bob. Judy. Ron. Helen. Jessica. Joanna. Dennis. Laurie. Sean. Michelle. Kate. Batsy. Conor. Mark. Paulette. Alicia. Yonkel. Stella. Mitzi. Marco. Lego. Steph. Stefi. Larry. Lena. Abi. Samantha. Jan. Bob. Brenda. Naomi. David. Renee. David. Janet. David. Anne. Ethan. Ezra. No Pie. Barbara. ‘Lil Myfanwe. Gale.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
How did I come to such a conclusion? Well, aside from my mother telling me, like, a billion times how I was fat and lazy and stupid and would never amount to anything, I was aided in coming to this conclusion by fruitcake.
I love fruitcake. I won't listen to anyone who knocks it. I am completely biased. I love fruitcake. I feel privileged that Myfanwe and I have reached a level of monetary comfort that we are able to afford dried fruit, which ain't cheap, let me tell you! Every year I read Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory", cry a little bit, then start baking. Oh, yes. I love fruitcake.
Every evening, after the dishes are washed and the kitchen tidied, I like to pull on some comfy jammies, brew a pot of tea, kick back in the recliner and knit. In the autumn and winter, I augment this ritual with a few slices of fruitcake. This is as close to paradise as I can get without a city-crippling snowstorm and a wood-burning fire.
As I may have mentioned in a post or two, this has been a busy autumn for me. But each weekend I have made a batch of fruitcake. Lovely fruitcakes. From three recipes, so far. Because I love all fruitcake.
Fruitcake is, if you don't already know, rather easy in the making, but tedious in the preparation. Most recipes are very specific -- butter the tins, line them with brown paper or parchment, then butter the brown paper or parchment. Cutting and fitting the paper takes something like eleventy-three hours per batch.
Well, the third recipe I made this year came from a very reputable source. I'm not naming names. This recipe instructed the baker only to grease the tins. Sweet Mother of Liver Sausage! I had been waiting for a recipe like this! I was so happy, I decided to bake a double batch! I greased the tins well with my own little hands -- a task I learned at my grandmother's knee. I thought about lining the tins with parchment, but the recipe didn't require it, and it saved me tons of time. What the hell!
I made a few minor variations, including substituting espresso for the prescribed apple juice or water -- I like my fruitcake dark and complex -- not just sweet. But no alterations that would affect the consistency of the final product. They baked beautifully,exiting the oven with a lovely sheen and a delicious aroma. I brushed them with a boiled rum syrup, let it soak in while they cooled for a few minutes, then tipped the cakes out of their tins.
And three of them stuck. %#$@!
I did the best I could to patch them back together, trying to use rum syrup as glue, but it is obvious that these are the crippled children of the fruitcake world. I don't think they will stand up to slicing, even if refrigerated. (Tip: If you want thin slices of fruitcake, refrigerate it before slicing.) I'm so sad.
All this could have been avoided if I hadn't been stupid and lazy.
So now, dear Readers, if indeed I have any readers after my confession here, please answer me this: Do you have any idea what kind of a dessert I could make with 4 pounds of crumbled fruitcake? I can't bear to waste it...that would be a sin.
Did I mention I love fruitcake?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Hello. My name is Aidan, and I like snow.
In fact, I am happiest when there is a foot and a half of snow on the ground. Nothing is as certain to raise my spirits as a meteorologist's prediction of a blizzard. I become almost giddy.
Living in the city, as I do, one must learn to live with a certain amount of noise -- traffic, people, sirens, car alarms. I've learned to block out background noise to a certain extent.
But there is this moment, when it is snowing. I turn off all the lights in the front of our condo and I stand in the sun room and I watch the snow fall, illuminated from behind by the street lights. I open the window -- cold though it may be -- and I listen to the sound of the snow. I can't describe it well, but it sounds like peace. And I will stand in that sun room for the longest time, watching the sparkling snow fall, listening to the quiet city...it is as close to magic as I have experienced.
So as others dread the oncoming winter, as others bemoan the drop in temperatures, as local news anchors scream into the camera "Oh, No! It's going to SNOW! We're all going to die!" Well, you will find me standing in the dark in my sun room, expectant.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I enjoy reading your blog. I am located in Alden, NY which is just outside of Buffalo. There aren't a whole lot of knitting shops around and the few that I have gone to didn't even know about the knitting community on the web. In fact, I knit a clapotis a year or so ago and the lady at the yarn shop didn't know what it was!
Since I don't really have any knitting friends, finding all the knitting blogs and places to buy yarn on the web has been great. The only problem is trying not to spend a fortune!
My husband is pretty tolerant of my knitting habit considering I have a tendency to go a little overboard. When I really started to get into knitting seriously he was like 'Why don't you just finish one thing before you start another?' HA HA HA He obviously doesn't understand!
I really admire your lace knitting. I have bought a few patterns and some yarn, but haven't really been brave enough to try them yet. I made a PI shawl using different patterns for my Aunt who has been battling cancer. It didn't really come out right, but the yarn was so beautiful, I think she liked it anyway.
I especially enjoy knitting socks since they're so portable. But, I've dabbled in a lot of different things from mittens, to summer sweaters, baby booties and hats.
I have a few friends expecting babies to knit for so I am hoping to try the Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket. I'm having a hard time finding the pattern. I don't really want to spend $30 for the book. I probably won't start them until after the holidays.
BTW, there are a few pictures of me on my flickr site.
It was nice hearing from you!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I just read your blog post about friends on Ravelry - I really like your approach to trying to get to know people beyond just clicking the "Add to my Friends" button.
So, in the spirit of your post, I'm not just adding you to my friends tonight, I'm telling you a little bit about me so you don't have to wonder who this crazy person adding you to their friends list is. ;-)
We've actually met very briefly once, about a year ago at Franklin's Dulaan gathering (Don't worry, I don't expect you'd remember me!). I still think about the mac and cheese you made. I'm a composer and college professor here in Chicago. I'm married to a fabulous guy who does most of the cooking in our relationship and who only occasionally questions the state of the yarn stash. We have a slightly neurotic but totally awesome border collie named Jake. When I'm not teaching/composing/performing (I'm also a French horn player), I'm knitting (of course), watching independent movies and documentaries, and occasionally embracing my inner rock goddess by going out and singing karaoke.
Yikes. Hope that wasn't more than you wanted to know. ;-)See you around the Rav! Emmdy
Doesn't she sound lovely?
Someday, when I've won the kabillion dollar lottery and bought my little island off the coast of Scotland, I'm going to invite Emmdy to my knitting weekends...and ask her to bring the tunes. I'm not sure if karaoke fits in with my dreams of firesides and teapots, but I bet you can come up with a few Clevinger recordings...maybe the Mozart four horn concertos?
I've been spending much more time than is decent learning the many and storied Secrets of Ravelry -- the Skull and Bones of the Knitting Universe. (Only Ravelry isn't a secret. And I don't think they'll let George Bush in unless he brings home the troups and learns to knit.)
Ravelry is truly amazing...so much to see, so many projects to admire, so much yarn to drool over, so much to talk about, so many new people to meet and get to know. I honestly don't know what I did with myself in the 43 years before Bob and his crew started Ravelry!
One wonderful part of this new knitting environment (besides being able to socialize in my boxers) has bee making Friends. Knitting Friends. Ravelry Friends.
The people on Ravelry are quite friendly, you see. I've made so many, I thought it was best to try to get to know them in an organized way. So I've started e-mailing them and asking them to write me a paragraph that tells me something about them -- a paragraph I can share with my peeps via this blog. And I got my first response from...
I used to be in the Chicagoland area, and miss it. Currently I am having trouble typing (and knitting) because I have a bandaid on my left index finger. One of my cats pegged my finger really well with his claw while we were playing. Currently they are running in circles around me - every once and awhile the little one stops to chase her tail. That's pretty much my life - cats and insanity that stops when I bite myself. Except I don't have a tail, so you can imagine how that ends.
I help build things like giant whale models for museums as a living.
Wow! She builds giant whales. That is sooooo cool. I wonder if she would make me one for my birthday? Oh, better not hint. Where would I put it, after all.
So if you run across Blueyedwench on Ravelry, be sure to introduce yourself and feel free to mention my name.
Gotta run. Ravelry is calling.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Aside from working brutal hours, meeting every deadline, and managing not to call f***heads, well, f***heads, not much.
Today I met a major deadline. Actually, I came in 24 hours early. My boss leaves Saturday for 9 days in New Mexico, so it had to be done Friday. And I had plans for tonight, so I didn't want to have to work. So I just opened a can of whoopass, and it got done!
Tonight's plans weren't exciting -- I cooked and Myfanwe and I tried to create some order in our chaotic home before the cleaning lady comes tomorrow. (I am always afraid that the cleaning lady, who doesn't speak 5 words of English, goes home on Friday and talks about what pigs we are.)
We are having 15 people for Shabbat dinner tomorrow night. (I swear, when I planned this dinner, I must have been temporarily insane.) In the past we have had to limit guests to 7, because our dining table only seats 10. So we went out and bought two folding banquet tables at Target. Set at each end of the big table like a capital I, they increase the seating to 18. Woo hoo! The tables will come in handy for Thanksgiving and Rosh Hashanah, as well. (Does anyone need a place for Thanksgiving dinner?)
Even with the extra hours, I managed to knit two rows on the Swallowtail Shawl every night...until tonight. I had to clean. But Saturday and Sunday I will knit six rows each, I promise. I think I only have 18 rows of the main body of the shawl left -- then the lily of the valley border, which will be a nice change. I hope to have it done for my friend Nancy's birthday in January.
Must go. Must sleep. Later!
Sunday, November 04, 2007
I try to get home in time to have a pot of tea and knit a couple of rows on the Swallowtail Shawl. Two rows is really all I get time for before falling into bed. I haven't had time to block the Luna Moth Shawl, but I plan to soon. Er, after Thanksgiving.
It's not as bad as it sounds. My boss is appreciative of my hard work, I am leading a big project, and we are producing thousands of documents a week -- we are actually making document productions Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. (Any paralegals out there will recognize this as a brutal schedule!) I'm pretty good at what I do, and I like the opportunity to prove my worth once in a while.