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We are Familia FIG. We are a bi- lingual, blended family. Belalu was diagnosed at 9 months with hypochondroplasia.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pelicula of the Week

If I haven't been keeping you abreast of the movies we've been watching in the Spanish and Latin American Film Series, it is because they haven't been worthy of recommendation. But tonight we're going to show Hable con ella (Talk to Her), which won an Oscar for Best original screenplay. This was a big deal for Spanish cinema, since foreign movies often only get recognition in the Foreign Film category. The director, Pedro Almodovar, is one of the best there is- anywhere. This movie is a beautiful study on communication and lack thereof, and the fine line between the passions of madness and love. Check out the film's official site if you're interested in more.

I finished a couple of projects last night. First, I finally finished Proust's Swann's Way. In the 460-something pages of the book this is what happens: He recalls his childhood and Swann's visits to his parents; Swann falls in love with Odette; the narrator fall in love with their daughter. That's it. That's the whole book. The language is gorgeous, though I wish I could read it in French- the original. I will probably start volume 2: Within a Budding Grove tonight.

I also finally finished the sleeves of Antoinette and sewed her side seams. Last night while watching an old Almodovar movie (Carne tremula) I finished unraveling the old sweater for the yarn and could get those seemingly-endless sleeves done. Now I have to work on the collar, which looks like it will be a task in itself.

Some other great movies we've watched lately: Broken Flowers with Bill Murry; Woody Allen's classic, Manhattan; and the original Parent Trap, whcih is one of my favorite childhood movies.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Morning walk with Mobi Ramekins

Good morning! Mobi and I just got back from a walk. We usually take about an hour and walk down to the lakes- there are bike/jogging paths around them, and one of the two allows dogs. When it's early enough, or the weather isn't that great, we can usually let her off the leash for a little while, which releases quite a bit of energy quickly. Today she's wearing her coat because it's still a bit chilly out. The sky was overcast and threatening the "s" word (I refuse to say it anymore this year), but there were still a few folks out jogging or walking, even at 7:30 a.m.

Yesterday Juan whipped up a gorgeous brunch for us, using leftovers from the fridge, such as eggs, scallions, spinach, grated radishes, cheese, and his all-time favorite ingredient: shrimp. He christened it "tarta a la gamba" or, shrimp pie, and served it with "salsa rosa"- pink sauce (don't they just sound better in Spanish?) in shot glasses with anchors on them- very nautical. We ate it on the porch, with our new Provence tablecloth reminding us of warm (or better yet, hot) Mediterranean days to come. (Don't mind the stack of book on THIS table, too, they're everywhere around the house these days)

Here is Antoinette (from Rowan #39) in progress. I'm anxious to get her done and to have the sort of weather in which I can wear her. I see her with white pants eventually, though that will have to wait until June (My own personal fashion rule: nothing pure white below the waist except June-August). It's amazing how quickly something like this knits up, compared to that massive amount of Aran sweater I was working on for Juan. I'm trying a new technique- knit both sleeves at the same time. I really like this idea because sleeves always seem to take forever anyway, and when you finish one, you still have another to go. Psychologically, I think this is a good technique for me. The color is more like the left-hand pic- the sun in the window washed out my sleeves.

In a little while, I'll head over to the Y for a new class: "Piyo"- a combination of pilates (yuck) and yoga (yum). My yoga teacher promised this would be more yoga then pilates... We'll see.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

If it's spring, why is it snowing?

Oh yeah, cause I live in Minnesota! These past couple of days I could really feel spring in the air. The sky has been blue, you can hear birds chirping in the morning,(we even had a couple visit our screened-in porch the other day), the students have brought out their flip flops (no wait, they wear those in the dead of winter, too, with a foot of snow on the ground). Anyway, yesterday I walked to school savoring the warm sun and crisp air, and this morning I look out my window and see what? SNOW and it has not stopped in the hour since I first saw it. Although there are no signs of it staying, it's more the psychological effect it has on my spirits rather than the actual fact that it is snowing. I know, I know, coming from Maine and having lived in Michigan and Massachusetts I realize that there's always that last snowfall in April, when you finally thought you could put winter behind you for a few months and dedicate yourself to long walks after dinner, golf in the evenings, hikes on the weekends... In short- enjoy nature instead of shunning it within the comfort of your warm house. Even as I write, the snow appears to be letting up. But I think today I'll put on my warm cords and a hand-knit sweater, maybe even bring a scarf... just in case.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Vacation's over and First Day of Spring

Allow me to sum up my spring break: 4 days in the car; one bridal shower; many appointments with wedding people; one four and a half hour exam; some time with family and friends. I hope to be getting pics in from various sources from some of the events over the next few days (hint, hint guys-get those pics to me!).

I kept my promise to Juan and finished his sweater by the end of vacation- last night at 10:15 p.m. Viola! Here is my first (and last in a long time) aran sweater: Joseph from Rowan's A Yorkshire Fable knit in men's size small with size 11 needles and 100% alpaca wool yarn, which means a very, very soft and heavy sweater.
Nice sweater, but where's Juan?
Here he is! (The pattern looks crooked here, but it's just the way he put it on quickly so I could finally take a darn picture)
Back view- this one's for my mom's friend at work.

The bridal shower was lovely- my friend Amy hosted it for me, and I think it's safe to say that everyone there had a fabulous time. The food, the decorations, the drinks- she even got gifts for everyone there! I am so grateful that she spent all that time and energy for little ole me! Thanks, Aim! And thank you to everyone who attended- it was so nice to see everyone, especially in a girls-only setting!

Back a couple of days and already I've whipped up some yummy things from my favorite chefs, Giada and Rachel. Sunday after yoga, I just happened to turn on the Food Network and what was on? A chefography of Giada- whose recipe I was using for dinner! (Tortelloni in broth- simple but delish).

This year, Juan and I decided that instead of Valentine's Day, we're going to celebrate the first day of spring. So, today I made a "spring" dish from my new Rachel Ray 365 cookbook: shrimp and crab fritters and an Asian salad. Our beverage of choice was sake- a gift from Makiko- a family friend who is from Japan. She also gave us a beautiful green sake set, which you can see on the table along with some other great shower gifts as well as some general table junk.

A close-up on the salad- isn't it the "springiest" thing you've seen in a while?

I will talk more about last week as the pictures come rolling in. I've got to post updates to my Antoinette sweater, too. Now that it is the first day of spring, I've got to get back on the exercise track. I was doing well, but then vacation hit and there was no time to do much then. Yoga class was rough on Sunday- I started out very grumpy and annoyed at everything the teacher told us to do, because my body just didn't want to go there. It's amazing how quickly everything tightens up with a stressful exam and four days in the car. But I did get up this morning before 7 and did a forty-minute routine- and tomorrow I'll have an hour class in the afternoon after I teach. Baby steps, baby steps.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

You haven't heard from me in a while because I have been studying like mad for my (hopefully) last big written exam that I have to take in Boston on Monday. This one is on the short story of Buenos Aires. I am really enjoying the subject, and I think my dissertation will somehow be related to this. But first, I want to just get through these written qualifying exams. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I have had some time to knit, however, since I can't read all day and all night. I finished Juan's front- notice how there are now decreases for the sleeves and for the neck? Now, I can't finish the last sleeve because I didn't buy enough yarn. I took a gamble on the necessary yardage, and it fell short. Mind you, I am using 100% alpaca, which is not cheap, so I didn't want to buy too much if I didn't have to. So, at some point during my vacation in Maine, we'll have to get to the store where I bought the yarn over Christmas break. (And maybe get me some new stuff, too!)

The other night while watching the Oscars, I really, really wanted to be knitting something. So, I went on a hunch- I have a lovely blue cotton sweater that I made last year, but didn't really like how it turned out- the fit was off. I wanted to see if I could get the same gauge with that yarn for one of the sweaters in the new Rowan magazine. And guess what.... it worked! So, wanna guess what this is going to make?

While you're thinking about that, I'll mention some yummy dinners we've had around here thanks to some of my fav chefs. I tried two more recipes from EI: polenta and chicken piccata. I served the polenta with a meat tomato sauce Juan had made the day before. It was our first venture with polenta- basically just cornmeal, butter, and salt. It was good, but it would have been too plain without the tomato sauce. The chicken piccata was chicken cutlets with a caper and lemon sauce. The best part about the meal was how quick it was to prepare. We've also had a couple of treats from the Barefoot Contessa- a lentil soup with turkey sausage and for a fun potluck with some university folk on Friday I brought her Chinese chicken salad, which is so amazing and should not be called chicken salad because it is so much better than the mayo concoction that usually carries that name. You absolutely have to try this- it's in her "Parties" cookbook. I usually half the recipe, but for this event I made the full 12 servings. And I'm proud to say, there was not a speck left at the end of the night. For the Oscars we had take-out, in. I made one of my favorite soups- portabella tortelloni with a curry cream broth and I threw together some chicken fried rice to use up some leftover ingredients I had bought for the Chinese chicken salad. Yum, yum, yum- I could talk about food all night. However, I will do you a favor and just leave you here with the "mystery" pattern I'm working on at the moment: Antoinette from Rowan Magazine 39

And now, if you will excuse me, I'll head back to my studies.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006