Mar 18, 2008

Knitting Content Is Moving

I have (somewhat) limited the knitting jabber here, but will go crazy with it here:

No, not expecting. But, you know, expecting to expect. One of these days. And plan on knitting then. And all other times. You know.

So visit, chat about knitting, if you don't know much about knitting, chat about babies.

Feb 20, 2008

Ye Olde Irish Veste

George in my office has a vest he wears every day. It is ratty and greasy and full of holes, but he wears it Every. Damn. Day. He bought it in Ireland twenty years ago, and has never found a replacement. He asked if I could mend it, but it was beyond recovery. In the end, he had me knit him a new one.

Ye Olde Irish Veste


Knitpicks Merino style nutmeg, approximately 5 skeins (600 yds)

1 US 11 20-inch circular needle

1 US 7 50-inch circular needle*

1 US 7 20-inch circular needle

2 US & dpns

Tapestry needle

3 wooden toggles


18 sts = 4 in. long

13 sts = 4 in. wide



Using larger needles, CO 86 sts. Work in stockinette until work measures 16 inches from the beginning, ending with a WS (knit side) row.

Shape armhole: BO 5 sts at the beginning of the next 2 rows.

Next row: purl one row.

Next row (WS): k2, ssk, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2.

Repeat these two rows 4X more.

Continue in stockinette until work measures 25 inches, ending with a WS row. Purl 19 sts, BO next 27 sts, purl to end.

Left shoulder:

Row 1 (WS): BO 5 sts, K to end.

Row 2: P2, p2tog, p to end.

Row 3: BO 6 sts, k to end.

Row 4: p2, p2tog, p to end.

BO remaining sts.

Right shoulder:

Reattach yarn.

Row 1 (RS): BO 5 sts, p to last 4 sts, p2tog, p2.

Row 2 (WS): k all sts

Row 3: BO 6 sts, p to last 4 sts, p2tog, p2.

Row 4: k all sts

BO remaining sts.

Left Front:

Using larger needles, CO 30 sts. Work in stockinette until work measures 16 inches, ending with a WS row.

Armhole and neckline:

Row 1 (RS): BO 3 sts, p to last 4 sts, p2tog, p2.

Row 2: k all sts

Row 3: BO 3 sts, p to end

Row 4: k all sts.

Row 5: p2, p2tog, p to last 4 sts, p2tog, p2

Row 6: k all sts

Row 7: p all sts

Row 8: k all sts

Row 9: p to last 4 sts, p2tog, p2

Repeat rows 6-9 5X more.


Row 1 (WS): k all sts

Row 2: BO 4 sts, p to end

Row 3: k all sts

Row 4: BO 4 sts, p to end

Row 5: k all sts

BO remaining sts.

Right Front:

Repeat as for left front, reversing all shaping.


Sew shoulder seams. Sew side seams.

Using smaller needle, with WS facing, pick up sts evenly--and loosely--around entire edge of garment.

Join to begin working in the round, p 1 row. Continue in purl st for 2 inches. BO all sts in the following manner: p2, sl 2 sts to left needle, p2tog, *p1, sl 2 sts to left needle, p2tog. Repeat from * until all sts are bound off.

*Alternatively, you could use a circular needle with a shorter cord, and do this in rows and in stages, sewing the edges together.

Repeat this process for both armholes.

Block well.

Button Loops:

Using size 7 dpns, CO 5 sts. Work an i-cord until length = 4 in. BO all sts. Make 3.

Sew onto vest as shown in photo, or wherever feels comfortable.

Sew on toggles opposite loops.

Weave in all ends.

Jan 29, 2008


Ten minutes ago, at my desk.

Ring ring

Cordelia: Hi, this is Cordelia.
Unknown Male Voice: Hey baby, what's up.
Cordelia: Who is this?
Unknown Male Voice: This is Sherwin, we met at the bar last night.
Cordelia: I didn't meet you at the bar last night.


One moment later.

Ring ring.

Cordelia: Hello?
Sherwin: You didn't have to be rude.
Cordelia: Look, I'm sorry, but you have the wrong number. I don't know who you are. I'm guessing the girl you met gave you the wrong number, you know?
Sherwin: Oh. Well, you didn't have to hang up on me.
Cordelia: I'm at work, okay? This is my work number. You kind of freaked me out.
Sherwin: Oh. Bye.


Jan 25, 2008


After our trip to wd-50, Guy and I had not intended on taking advantage of Restaurant Week. I don’t believe we’ve ever taken advantage of Restaurant Week, come to that. But my boss called Guy and asked where we were going, and apparently that’s all it took.

Well, that and the fact that Roy’s was participating.

We’ve actually been to Roy’s three times—once when we were first dating, again for our one-year anniversary (a whole one, this time) and then again in Kona on our first trip visiting my parents, when it was absolutely essential that we have a night to ourselves.

Roy’s in Manhattan is tucked away in just about the worst location imaginable—at the base of the Marriott Hotel. And at the moment, opposite the construction site for the newest W Hotel (it was mercifully quiet, for all that). The décor is mildly tacky by Manhattan standards—the seats and tables are worn and scratched, and the pseudo-tropical murals on the pillars are cheery at best. The funny thing is, it’s authentic. All nice restaurants in Hawaii look like that, with exactly that color scheme.

It was far more crowded than I’d ever seen it, though hardly anybody was ordering the Prix Fixe. And to be honest, there wasn’t much on there that I wanted—miso soup? Spring greens? Shrimp lo mein? I’m sure it’s the very best shrimp lo mein in the whole world, but there was no way I was spending $24 on a noodle stir fry. The options were so limited that Guy ordered the salmon on soba noodles even though he doesn’t like salmon. We both ordered the Sichaun braised short ribs to start, and I, in a wild surge of homesickness, ordered the glorified loco moco.

A loco moco (real name) costs you about $2.00 at Café 100. You get a Styrofoam cup filled up halfway with rice, an overdone hamburger patty, and an egg, topped with gravy. I’ve only had it once or twice—it’s no spam musubi or cone sushi.

We had asked for water when we were seated, but none came. As we ordered, our server went through the list of “sparkling, still, etc.” and I said—or meant to say—plain water is fine. We were brought a bottle of Figi. Guy growled. The server rolled his eyes, but the $8.00 or whatever that bottle would have run us did not appear on the bill.

I’m so glad I went with the two meat dishes. Miso soup would just have been sad. Those were some of the best short ribs I’ve ever had—certainly the most tender. The bones stripped themselves clean at the slightest tug. The fat was juicy but not chewy, and the sauce was peppery and sweet and sour and perhaps even had that fifth flavor that Guy was going on about: umami.

Our food was delivered by someone other than our server—the happiest man I think I’ve ever encountered. Bringing us our food absolutely made his day, and he was so excited for us to be eating it. However—he did attempt to give Guy my loco moco. I guess nobody believed a skinny girl would ever really order it.

It was a disk of properly sticky rice, topped with grilled meatloaf, a sunny egg, and fried onions. It was delicious. The meatloaf was crisp and juicy, and the egg yolk dripped down and it was all very simple and hearty and good.

Guy’s salmon on green soba was tasty…I think. I had a bite and don’t really remember it. That’s probably a bad sign.

Guy had ordered the dessert I wanted—the lilikoi cheesecake with lychee gelée—so I went with the caramel flan. It was too sweet. I suppose if I hadn’t scraped off the berry compote it would have cut the sweetness a little, but I didn’t like berry compote. It reminded me of canned cranberry sauce—and not the smooth kind that you slice up. (I like that kind). Guy claimed it was guava. It was not guava.

Guy’s dessert, on the other hand, was excellent. I don’t usually like flavored cheesecakes—and haven’t like lilikoi cheesecakes in the past—but this wasn’t too overwhelming. I thought the pistachio crumble was a mismatch, but that’s a quibble. And the lychee gelée was perfect. It tasted exactly like lychee.

We split a cup of coffee to combat the sleepiness of a heavy meal consumed in the middle of the day. It has not had much effect. My stomach is only now starting to shrink back to normal size, and I’m looking forward to a light meal of hummus and falafel tonight.

The homesickness, on the other hand, is not assuaged.

Jan 24, 2008


I am the undisputed cook in my household, but the honest truth is I only do about thirty percent of the cooking. On nights when we have the kids, Guy gets home early and whips up one of the five or six dishes they are willing to eat (chicken, pasta with very little pasta sauce, some variation of the above). We eat our food-as-fuel and then get down to the serious business of bath-giving, homework-assisting, and Pictionary-playing. And on Sunday nights (when we never ever have the kids) Guy fixes us martinis and whips up his Julia Child special: pan-fried steak with garlic-butter-red wine sauce. I sip my martini and keep him company, but never touch a knife or spoon. And then, you know, we get takeout or go to Taqueria at least once a week.

So, um, when exactly do I do any cooking?

Maybe I should lower that percentage a little.

But! When I do cook, it’s as a cook. I invent dishes--sometimes successfully, sometimes…not so successfully. The cooked ceviche was a misstep. But the marinated tilapia topped with the grapefruit-shallot salsa is excellent! I look at a recipe and take from it what I will—to Guy’s constant dismay.

“Doesn’t that say coriander? Do we have coriander?”

“No, but I don’t really like coriander. I’m using turmeric instead. It’s good for you, and it’s such a cheery color.”

“But aren’t the flavors totally different? Nigella wrote this recipe and tested it carefully, it’s supposed to be with coriander! It’s right there on the printed page!”

Shrug. “I love Nigella, but turmeric will be fine. Trust me.”

And the couscous was delicious. Is. We have it every few weeks. I still haven’t purchased any coriander.

On the other hand, Guy never sits and knits while I do all the cooking—I put him to work. I’ll be stirring and tasting and fiddling, and he’ll be chopping or grating or whatever I tell him to do.

And like the prep cook extraordinaire that he is, he’s very proprietary. This weekend was so bitterly cold, I decided our arteries could probably withstand a little risotto. I set Guy to work chopping shallots and celery, but he paused halfway through to do some dishes. There wasn’t much I could do until the shallots and celery were cooked down, so I started chopping.

“What are you doing? I’ll be right there, let me just dry this knife.”

“I’m just chopping some celery.”

Guy stared at my handiwork, aghast.

“Didn’t you say they were supposed to be finely chopped? What do you call that?”

“Well, I was just doing some preliminary chopping, and then I’ll chop them all down smaller.”

I demonstrated, and the overloaded cutting board sent celery flying across the counter.

“I would have chopped a little at a time. This is impossible. You’re just going to have to live with coarsely chopped celery now.”

I bowed my head in shame, lowered the heat in the sauce pan, and began stirring the overly-large celery chunks in with the shallots and butter.

“Huh,” I said, craning my head at the recipe. “Jamie Oliver says we should add 4 ounces of pecorino and four ounces of parmesan. Plus the goat cheese. That’s a lot of cheese. Don’t bother grating the parmesan—just go with the pecorino.”

“But he says both—and you love cheese. Can there ever be too much cheese?”

My embarrassment over my poor chopping technique, coupled with my great love for cheese, was too much. I caved. The risotto had pecorino and parmesan and goat cheese. It was freaking cheesy.

Too cheesy. It was very rich and not particularly flavorful, as all that cheese overwhelmed any subtlety the dish might otherwise have had. My anti-recipe instincts were correct.

Who’s the cook now?

Jan 23, 2008

Iron & Whine*

As usual, I am quite behind on all things entertainment-related. I don't watch shows until they come out on Netflix ("Oh my GOD! McDreamy's married?!?") and I don't buy music until I see it on everybody's top ten list of albums of the year.

So I bought Iron & Wine's The Shepherd's Dog. Now, I have always had great love for Iron & Wine, and it's been my longstanding belief that it'd be great music to slit my wrists by. (Not a criticism--every emotion needs it own soundtrack. Although I'm not allowed to listen to The Creek Drank The Cradle in February.) (AndI have to be careful to whom or how I make that joke. I went to a party at Boy and Girl's Mom's house, and she was playing Iron & Wine, and I was all "Damn! You're playing that? You planning on handing out razor blades with the cheese plate?" Must remember that not everyone shares my sense of humor. Still embarrassed about that.)

However, The Shepherd's Dog isn't like that.** For one thing, it's a lot less muddy. Since Sam Beam didn't make it in his basement and all. And it feels like an album, which so few do. Like Cat Power's The Greatest, I have trouble picking out any particular song. It's not that they don't stand out and have their own specific melodies and moods. They do, but they run into one another so well, producing one uber-melody. (I really just wrote uber-melody. But I couldn't think of another phrase that describes what I mean. Sorry). It's raucous at times--Wolves, The Devil Never Sleeps--but, while some disagree, I didn't find it any less melodic and pensive for that. Melodic, pensive--but not tragic. It makes me feel peaceful, but not bored. Or, you know, suicidal. I'm content to sit and listen.

Constantly. Guy and I are wearing down the cd. Just imagine if we'd gotten it months ago.

*Really no whining here for a change. (That I can think of, anyway...) I just couldn't resist.
**With one notable exception. Resurrection Fern still makes me want to reach for my bottle of sleeping pills.*** But, you know, in a good way.
***I'm not ready to make jokes about Heath Ledger, as I am genuinely sad. This was not a joke about Heath Ledger.

Jan 11, 2008

As We Walk Away From Sweeney Todd

Cordelia: I found that kind of upsetting. (Translation: I need to be fetal right now.)

Guy: I thought it was pretty good. (I thought it was pretty good, and I'm hoping that just chatting about it matter-of-factly will make her less upset.)

Cordelia: I thought so too, but I don't think I really like dark movies. (The world is terrible and awful. I feel so alone).

Guy: Are you kidding? What about Buffy? (See, it's working. We're chatting.)

Cordelia: I don't think Buffy is anywhere near as dark. (Okay, yeah, Season Six Buffy is pretty depressed and doing some not-so-healthy things, BUT SHE ISN'T KILLING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE AND SERVING THEM UP AS SNACK FOODS.)

Guy: Well, I guess not as violent, but it's pretty dark. (She sounded a little shrill there.)

Cordelia: I. Don't. Want to talk about this anymore! (How can he think this was anything like that? I can't talk about this with him. I am alone in my sadness.)

Guy: Huh? (Huh?)