About Me

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

To My Secret Pal

Can you send me an email with your anonymous email address, and I'll tell you my best snail mail address. Thanks!!!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

El Rastro de Madrid

So I finally got Internet connection here- it wasn't wireless and it was a little complicated, but I got it figured out eventually. I've been having a wonderful time in Madrid with some students from the university where I teach, though I am a bit worn out. And I haven't even taken part in the "marcha madrilena" (Madrid nightlife). Today we went to the Rastro, a huge outdoor market in the southern part of the city. It has everything you could imagine for sale- clothes, books, antiques, furniture,jewelry, etc. Oftentimes, there's live music playing throughout the area, too. The Sunday tradition is to do a little shopping then "ir de tapeo" (basically bar hopping with food involved). So, that's what we did. Here are some photos I took there:

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

New York, New York

My trip to New York was fast. I went for an orientation conference for my job in Spain this summer- In July, I'll be directing a month-long high school program for American students. What you see above is about the extent of my New York visit- the view from my hotel's balcony. That would be a part of times square right there. Great location, just no time to explore. We did go out on Friday night to Vlada (could be spelling that wrong)- an infused-vodka bar close to the hotel. It was a lot of fun to see my friends from last summer and meet the new summer crew, too.

I am actually about to go to the airport for Spain. The hostal there should have wireless internet, so I am hoping I'll have a chance to update this page some more there.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Sleeve is done: One down, one to go

It was a rainy, chilly weekend. So I got to watch a lot of movies, read, and knit! I had a stack of DVDs I had taken out from the university library at the beginning of the semester (one of the perks of being faculty: semester-end due dates ;) and finally have had a chance to watch. So, I have finished a sleeve of Jane, from A Yorkshire Fable. The color practically blends in with the carpet in the photo- though in actuality the yarn is green with flecks of brown, white, and dark green. I'm really loving the summer tweed yarn- this is my second sweater I've knit with it, and I will continue to use after Jane is done. (Stay tuned for THAT project).

Unfortunately, we didn't gage the right amount of yarn at the store, and I'm almost out. Luckily, I'm heading to New York City on Thursday, so I will get more then. Any recs out there for good yarn stores in NYC that carry Rowan yarn?

I finished Devil in the White City the other day- what a great book! I couldn't put it down- I think I read the whole thing in three days. Now I'm working on finishing a cute book I picked up while camping last week. It's a true pioneer story about a girl at the beginning of the century- sort of Laura Ingalls Wilder-style, which is exactly what I was in the mood to re-read. It's a good substitute for now. Speaking of...I'm off to read in bed a while- good night!

Friday, May 12, 2006

I should be in Milan

At least according to the fun little quiz below.
And where should you be this weeknd?

You Belong in Milan

Stylish and sophisticated, you want to enjoy a truly European life - away from tourists!
Milan fits you perfectly. Great shopping, high quality food, lots of culture... with very little hype.

Latest Knitting Project

I've been working on a cardigan for my mom. She picked out the style and yarn colors, so it's not really a surprise to her, though I bet she will be happy when she finally gets it.

The pattern is Jane from Rowan's A Yorkshire Fable. I am knitting it with Rowan's 4 ply tweed and Summer tweed. (The pattern calls for Aran Tweed, but we decided the cotton/silk blend would make it more versatile).

I leave you this evening with a pic from the delish treats we had at my house last week during the "Knit Wits" meeting. There were quite a few younger girls there, so I made cupcakes in fun spring colors. The oranges were originally for display, but the kids actually went for them before the cupcakes! They all got eaten in the end, though. To drink we had herbal iced tea- a recipe I got from the Barefoot Contessa: 4 tea bags each of red and lemon zinger tea (steeped in 4 cups of hot water) then mixed with 4 cups of naturally sweetened apple juice. Chill and enjoy!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Home Sweet Home

One of the most important aspects of vacation away from home is being happy to be back. Of course, the fact that Winona had temps in the 70s all week while we were sleeping in the low 30s probably has contributed to this relief. Then again, I woke up this morning in my own bed to a rainy day with highs in the mid-40s. *sigh* It's spring in Minnesota.

Other than the weather, we had a great time and I will include details in the coming days with accompanying photos. It was such a weird feeling to wake up today and have nothing that I HAD to do- I have a couple of projects related to my upcoming trips to Spain and my oral exam for my doctorate this fall, but there was no place I had to be today. I won't lie- it's a nice feeling. I spent the whole morning with my nose in a book- I started The Devil in the White City last night before going to bed, and I have not been able to put it down since. I've already read 150 pages. It's been a while since I've been so engaged in a book.

Below are pics from a lovely dinner we had while in Maine over spring break. I used some recipes from Giada's books, and got to use my new bridal shower gifts, too!

Barefoot wine, a great, very affordable choice for all kinds of meals; toast rounds with fresh parsely and garlic; raw veggies and hummus.

Juan's favorite: shrimp with his special salsa rosa.

The main course, Barefoot Contessa's oriental chicken salad- so, so, so good!

For dessert we had balsamic cream with fresh strawberries and orange wedges with vanilla ice cream.

I wish we had thought to get photos of the people, too, but we were just so excited about the food, I guess we forgot! In attendence were my parents; my aunt Diane and uncle John; my pal Amelia; and Juan and myself.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Brief Respite

I am done for the semester!!! I have turned in all grades!!! We went camping last weekend, then came back for yesterday and today, and we'll be heading out tomorrow morning for a week-long trip up north, past Duluth, MN, on Lake Superior. Be prepared for some major camping pics when we get back. My home connection doesn't work at the moment, which is why I haven't been able to update more frequently. Now that the semester is over, I should be able to update more often, when I'm not in the middle of the wilderness, that is.

The Secret Pal 8 has begun, so I must leave my info for my secret pal. The rest of you can skip over it, or read it to learn more about me and my knitting habits :)

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I prefer natural fibers- wool, alpaca, cotton, linen, silk, etc.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have a little tin on my bookshelf that is just bursting with all my knitting paraphernalia.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting since the summer of 2004. I would say I'm intermediate-advanced since I like to try challenging patterns, but still have not tried colorwork beyond stripes nor can I seem to master the fine art of lace knitting.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Well, I have my wedding registries... (Crate and Barrel, Williams and Sonoma, Pottery Barn) Other than that, none.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) I cannot stand vanilla- it gives me a headache. Otherwise, all is good. I have a strong preference for green tea and "water" scents rather than flowers.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I love dark chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I sew occasionally and I like doing beaded jewelry.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I really like Tango and Fado music, and I love to find out about new types of music from other countries. I'm pretty open to most kinds of music. I can play MP3s on my computer and Ipod.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? In terms of yarn, I am a "winter," so I tend to go for blues, greens, eggplant purple, black, and grey.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I live with my fiance and our Boston Terrier, Mobi Ramekins.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I love scarves and wraps as well as hats that keep me warm in winter.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Sweaters

13. What are you knitting right now? I am knitting a cardigan for my mom.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Definitely

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I prefer bamboo/wood circs

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? no

17. How did you learn to knit? My friend Lisa and I took Stitch n' Bitch on a road trip together and figured it out between each other and the book.

18. How old is your oldest UFO? One year. It's a crochet skirt- I've been trying to teach myself how to crochet but I think I have the wrong sized hook for the yarn.

19. What is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving because I get to see all my family and eat lots of good food.

20. Is there anything that you collect? I'm working on building my cookbook collection. I love the Barefoot Contessa and don't have any of her books. I also like to find old etiquette books in used book stores.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I subscribe to Rowan magazine and read knitty.com. I would love the Loop-de-loop book and any of the Rowan "Classic" books.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I would love to try fair-isle knitting and I've been trying my darndest to do lace, though I don't seem to have the concentration necessary.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I am not a sock knitter, yet, though I keep thinking I should give it a try. I wear a freakishly small size 5 1/2 or 6.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) 12/28