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.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I've Been Tagged

These are the rules: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. I like to read cookbooks before I go to sleep- the kind that tell you about a culture through its cooking, with lots of pictures.
2. I collect old etiquette books.
3. In middle school we could choose between taking French or Spanish, and the only reason I choose Spanish is because everyone else took French. I really wanted to take Italian, but didn't get a chance to take a class until I was in Spain.
4. I like eating raw potatoes. In my house this is not weird, apparently elsewhere it is.
5. I wish I were a rock climber.
6. As much as we travel, Juan and I have yet to be on a plane together.
7. I went on a solitary retreat in the Berkshires a few years ago and didn't speak or even interact with anyone else for four days. I wished I could have stayed longer.
8. In third grade I started a card company with a friend, where we made custom-made greeting cards and then expanded to include friendship bracelets. It was called "Cards and Crafts." Our teacher eventually shut us down for soliciting in school.

I'm tagging Wenlei, Doris, Ms. Amelia, Christy, Chris, Monica, Paloma, and Alejandra

Wicked Good Lobstah

I'm currently visiting my mom's family in Down East Maine. This part of the state was named as such by sailors because they sailed downwind along the coast, even though they were going North. Anyway, here you have dinner last night. We got big hard shells, as you can see. Many people have a preference - soft shells are smaller but easier to get into and the meat is more tender, though there is less of it. Hard shells have a lot more meat, but you really have to work to get at it. A couple of the claws needed to be hammered, as the nutcrackers we usually use just weren't getting the job done. I really don't care either way- I just love lobster. And all you need is a little melted butter to dip it in. For dessert, I had Grammy-made strawberry rhubarb pie. I have definitely been spoiled this weekend.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Postcard from Spain #3

This picture is from a Central-Northern city in Castilla-Leon, located along the camino de Santiago. As indicated by his staff, gourd, and shell, the statue is representative of a peregrino, or pilgrim of this route. The city is most famous for its Gothic cathedral.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Scholarly Scarf

As I spend my days tucked away in various libraries around Boston and Cambridge researching for my dissertation, I need a project that keeps my hands as busy as my eyes flying across the page. From the fiber (100% wool) to the colorway (reminicient of a New England autumn day), this scarf is my little way of conjuring up fall's approach. You see, I love heat and really dislike cold weather, but fall has always been my favorite season because of its association with a new school year and hence, new beginnings. And as my time nowadays is spent in scholarly pursuits, I can't help but look forward to the crisp weather that requires woolly sweaters and scarfs. Now, if only we could go from fall to spring...

Actually, I'm not quite ready for summer to be over, as I still have the Spain portion awaiting me. And I can wait a little longer to start teaching again. But I saw this pattern in Ravelry, realized it was perfect for the Manos de Uruguay yarn I've been waiting for years for an excuse to buy and knit, and couldn't resist. The pattern is called "My So-Called Scarf" and is fairly easy, though I have had to undo various rows and reknit them due to reading and knitting simultaneously. I'm using size 13 needles, which are like tree trunks compared to the other needles I've been using all summer. They're cool- they were hand-made in Maine.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

End of Road Trip MN-ME 2007

Nevermind that I am atrociously behind in my summer blogging- these are the final photos of our trip out to Maine this summer. I've combined the Montreal/Quebec City photos into one Quebec post because I had to be spare with the camera- since we spent four days camping, there was no electricity to charge the battery. But let's not hesitate further, and just go ahead a get started, shall we? (I think if you click on the photos, they get bigger, if you're interested in any close-ups) Here's the only picture I took in Montreal, since we had both been there before and already had many at home:
While Toronto was a definite mix of US, Europe and Canadian influences, once we hit Quebec province it was like jumping the pond right into France. I was surprised that most people really didn't speak English outside of Montreal. But everyone we met was really, really, nice and with their efforts at English and ours at French, things worked out ok in the end.As we were driving through the little towns along the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec, each place would have a stone church like this anchoring the town center.
The famous Chateau at the top of Quebec City
The old part of the city is a maze of tiny winding streets with restaurants, shops, and galleries.

Pretty buildings and streets.Where's Juan?On our last night there, we had a picnic in the park. Though there was supposed to be music that didn't happen, we didn't mind. There were lots of other people there and we enjoyed the gorgeous weather and beautiful sunset from atop the hill. It was a lovely end to a great trip.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cooking for One

It is high time I posted some food photos, I do believe. Juan is overseas where I will join him in a couple of weeks, so I have been indulging in some cooking-for-one. I love being back in civilization, where you can actually find any and everything at the grocery store. (I love little Winona, but sometimes the culinary deprivation is frustrating. Out East here, whether I'm in Maine or Boston, there's just more selection) The other night I made a corn/bulgur wheat salad. I know the picture isn't great, but do not get me started on this #$%@ing camera. Just don't. I took two ears of corn and cooked them, then cut the kernels and added to them cooked bulgur wheat, some thinly slices of red onion, halved cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, half an orange pepper, about 3 tablespoons each of apple cider vinegar and virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. I got the basic idea from the Contessa's corn salad in her first cookbook, though improved with more veggies and the bulgur wheat to make it a substantial entree. That gave me enough for dinner and two lunches.

Tonight I cooked portobello mushroom raviolis and didn't want a long-cooking, heavy sauce. So I checked out Giada's suggestions and made a variation of her Checca sauce. I cut up the rest of my cherry tomatoes and a couple romas, too, threw in more of that red onion, lots of fresh basil and olive oil, some garlic and Parmesan cheese. Nothing is cooked- it just gets chopped up in the food processor. I had purchased buffalo mozzarella earlier in the week, but it was gone in two days between caprese pizza and a chicken salad, so I had to do without.
Now that I am in decent driving distance of a Trader Joes, I can also get a bountiful supply of decent $3.99 Pinot Grigio. (I don't care what the label is, as long as it tastes good)

For dessert, I've been alternating between lemon and coconut sorbet. I really wanted to make a raspberry sauce, so I just smashed a 1/2 pint of fresh raspberries with a fork, added some sugar and a little lemon flavored vodka, cooked it over the stove for about 15 minutes max- maybe it was more like 10- just get that alcohol taste out of there and a good looking texture in. There are two bowls, not because I am a glutton, but because I shared with Michael, my old roomie and Meridith's still. He's letting me stay here, he can have some dessert, darn it! He even got the larger portion, in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Isabella is Done and Other Knitting Feats

Here she is, the project that took me about three weeks longer than expected. Knit in two countries, in four different campgrounds on size 1 needles. Knit with lavender Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino yarn in the smallest size, this is more like a shell than a tank top. I actually wore it today, since I spent most of my time in a freezing cold library. Modifications include making the waist longer than called for and the arm parts thinner than the pattern indicated by about an inch. After several headaches, I have to say, I am happy with the pattern, though without my changes it would have been too short and wide. I love the details of it- the eyelets around the waist; the picot edging on the sleeves and bottom; and the lace neckline.

In keeping with my lace theme this summer, I am knitting my second pair of
socks: Elfine's Socks from My Fashionable Life. I saw them on Ravelry and decided that they would be perfect in my green yarn that was waiting to be used.I have tried a couple of projects with my ivory Siena yarn that I just don't know what to do with. Here are the failed attempts to get this out of my stash and made into something I like and would wear:First up was the Faux Ruffle Tank from Alterknits. It calls for weaving in ribbon or other novelty yarn to made ruffles along the front in a sort of modern tuxedo style. I was going to use this deep turquoise fur yarn I had made a stole from and was really excited about the ivory with the blue and also using these two yarns I didn't know what to do with otherwise. But I got this far and admitted to myself what I had known all along and yet had decided to ignore: In order to get the gauge I had to knit the yarn double, and I did not have enough yarn to complete the tank top.

So I stopped fooling myself and even though I loved the way it was looking, I knew I didn't even come close to having enough yarn, so I ripped it all out, wound it back up (no easy feat with two balls of yarn tangling themselves together as I unraveled and re-wound.) I then attempted to make the lace tank top from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, again having to double the yarn to get the gauge. Thing is, I really don't like this yarn. I don't like knitting with cotton, and this is 100% mercerized cotton. Second, this color does not look good on me. I had bought it originally to make a crocheted heirloom-style fancy skirt. Problem was and is, I don't know how to crochet. I thought I could teach myself like I did with knitting, but it just didn't work out. So, I've had 7 skeins of this yarn for 2 years now and I want to use it up so it's not sitting in my stash. But I don't like it. So, as I'm knitting this tank top, I really don't care about it. I really don't. And it knows it. I am knitting along, half paying attention to the lace pattern that borders its bottom, letting the stitch markers fall off and placing them where ever... And then I realize that it is obvious I don't care about this. Both sides are knit together in the round and the first side looks great. See: You can get an idea of a pattern forming.
Then, I look at the back:There is no rhyme nor reason to this. The numbers aren't even correct. I cannot face it any longer- this is not working.
So, I rolled up the two skeins simultaneously. Again. And right now I can't even bear to look at this yarn. In fact, I went out and bought some yarn I love and have been coveting for years, just to show it that it cannot stop me from knitting fun.
Hah! Take that evil cotton yarn in unflattering color.

Though I still need to make something out of it...

Toronto, ON

I'm a bit behind in my blogging. There will be a knitting post later this afternoon with projects and yarn store info, but I haven't finished posting our road trip, so I thought I would give you some photos to look at in the meanwhile.

After visiting Jai and the babies in Detroit, we made our way to Toronto, Ontario. My friend Gabby resides in Toronto and her and her boyfriend Sean were gracious enough to let us crash there for a couple of nights- canoe and dog and all. It was actually a reunion of sorts, since the last time we had seen each other was when we lived in London together exactly 10 summers before. (For some reason that sounds so much better than 10 YEARS ago, which is what is was. *sigh*)Here you can see how fun our illustrious hosts are, being all silly for the camera before we are about to cook our dinner. What every good Toronto tourist needs before a day of sightseeing: Canadian moolah and a Tim Horton's coffee. (There is one on every block downtown- trust us, we checked)Statues and fountain.Pretty church framed by trees.Toronto's answer to Times Square.Outdoor seating at great pub that provides rest to the weary in the form of shade, cold beer, and fish and chips.We had to do it, the fish-and-chips-in-a-pub thing, that is. When you're only a tourist for a couple of days, you have to just embrace your tourist-ness and indulge in all the nonsensical whims you fancy, while you can. Yummmm... unabashedly waiting for fried goodness....Yeah! They're here! Eat up!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Local Yarn Store in Cambridge!!!

We arrived in Boston yesterday because Juan will be leaving for Spain on Monday, and I have to buckle down and start working on my dissertation. (Which means lots of library time for the next few weeks). On our way to dinner last night in Porter Square, we passed a papered-up storefront promising that a new center for all things crafty will be coming soon. I gave Juan's hand a little squeeze hoping to the craft gods that it would be SOON so I could take advantage of it while here since it is in walking distance of Meridith's apartment. After a lovely meal of Thai food at Sugar and Spice, we saw that the paper had been removed to reveal a large, spacious, colorful store with yarn and beads and books and so many other things. We inquired from the very cute girl in retro glasses and a hand-knit shrug who was busy unpacking boxes, just to confirm, that they are indeed opening TODAY!! Stay tuned for a in-depth expose on this latest addition to Cambridge's craft scene. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!