Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Finished Projects

I finished two knitting projects today! The pink fingerless gloves are for my niece, Hayley, and the baby sweater is for Baby Kurlinski. Yay! Finishing is so satisfying :)

I also found out today that two of our pregnant friends are expecting girls. Cute Saartje booties, here I come!


Both kids are showing some interest in letters and the ABC song. Liel will often run her finger along a line of text and say, in a kind of sing song-y voice "abc! abc!". I thought I would cleverly combine Zion's ongoing interest in Michael Jackson with the alphabet and asked if he'd like to see the Jackson 5 sing "ABC" (yes, I know I tried this once before and failed, but I was bored after the 5th viewing of "Bad" and hope springs eternal, right?). For a while we dicussed the differences between the alphabet song ABC and the Jackson 5 song, but eventually he agreed that yes, he DID want to watch the video. So off we went to YouTube.

Zion sat through it with some degree of enjoyment, but asked to see "Bad" again as soon as it was over. I loved it. I swear, every time I hear (or see) "ABC", somewhere, somehow, Emily Wilson is dancing on the Mulligan's coffee table and everything really is pure joy.

The Haircut

Here's Zion, sporting his new 'do. What he's not doing in these pics is cooperating for the camera! Ah well.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pick me!

I submitted a slogan design for a tshirt at threadless. The idea was partly Giselle's, since she told me that she and her co-workers thought one of Zion's blog quotes would be awesome on a tshirt. I'm not counting on others thinking so, but just in case it'd be pretty sweet, huh?

Seasonal ingredients

Tonight I'm making "Asian" cucumber salad (it has rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil and is yummy), a testament to the fact that our CSA's cucumber plants are still going at it with gusto. As I searched my cookbooks and the web for ideas for my cucumbers I started to notice a trend: everyone has/had too many cucumbers in the summer. There's Indian cucumber salad, Greek cucumber salad, Armenian, Hungarian, Japanese, Turkish, Spanish, Israeli...It's a big world, but we're all struggling together to figure out what to do with these damn cucumbers.

Which brings me to my second point. I'm sure you've noticed the not very new trend among restaurants and chefs of a certain caliber (or those that fancy themselves of a certain caliber...) to note that they use "seasonal ingredients" in their menus. At it's heart this is a wonderful thing. By eating seasonally you are (hopefully) also eating locally, thus decreasing the amount of fossil fuels needed to get your food out of the ground and onto your plate. You're also supporting small farms, the local economy, and often, responsible land stewardship. As if these karmic delights weren't enough, locally grown/seasonal food often tastes better since it can be harvest when actually ripe instead of being picked early and allowed to crawl toward that mealy-cardboard state that, we are assured, is "juicy", "delicious", and of course "peak ripeness". Blech. No wonder so many people think they don't like vegetables.

The thing is, I realized, as I salted my cucumbers today, chefs who use seasonal ingredients do so selectively. They practically have to, because who wants cucumbers at every meal? Or even worse, turnips?? (Oh how I dread the Turnip Months in the fall...) Right now is a great harvest time for produce, and our CSA is giving us lettuce, swiss chard, zucchini, summer squash, onions, beets, corn, peppers, and of course, cucumbers. But pictures a menu with just those vegetables on it- just those!- and you quickly realize that what "seasonal ingredients" really means is something like "well, we're not using raspberries grown in Chile, at least. But it's summer time, so tomatoes must be in season, right? Oooo and maybe just a few potatoes...they could keep! In our...um...root celler. Yeah! Man, we are SO heirloom."

And whether pigs have wings

Today's theme is: fun!

My brother told me about Simpsonizeme. If you've ever wondered what you'd look like when you do your much-anticipated guest voice spot on The Simpsons (and really, who hasn't??), then this site is for you.

Some of you may know that I have a small interest in perfume. But not commerical perfume- small batch, artistic perfume oils from awesomely talented perfumers. These days my #1 favorite is Possets. Fabienne's blends really work well with my skin chemistry, and her prices can't be beat! Plus, last night I wore Id to bed. Which is just so clearly cool. (In fact, most nights I amuse the hell out of Robert by climbing into bed, making a little nest of comforter, pillow and feather bed and squealing about how good I smell. Lucky for me that he finds my eccentricities so endearing!)

Happy news: My friend Dany had her 3rd baby! Gabriel is adorable, and looks exactly like his big brother and sister. Exactly.

And the amusing kid story for the day: After lunch I was giving the kids their vitamins and fish oil, which they love. They love fish oil so much that they squabble over who gets to have fish oil first that day. So today Zion wandered off with his viatmin and I gave Liel her fish oil and called him in. He came running to the kitchen shouting "Me first! Me first!", which caused Liel to a. clamp her teeth down on the spoonful of fish oil in her mouth, presumably in an attempt to ensure that her first turn status was not lost and b. start choking on the fish oil, presumably because at 20 months she hasn't quite mastered the art of holding something in mouth and swallowing without choking. Hey, it takes some people years to master that skill! Anyway, as she coughed and sputtered I said, "Are you OK sweetie?" Liel coughed and stared up at me with watery eyes and Zion said, "Yeah, I'm fine. Fish oil!"

Sunday, July 29, 2007

And why the sea is boiling hot

It was a rainy afternoon. I was knitting on the Baby Kurlinski sweater when Robert began to type quickly, in an excited sort of way.

"What are you doing?", I asked.

"Emailing this woman at the University of South Florida who wrote her dissertation on creation in Medieval Islam". He finished the sentence he was typing and became suddenly much more animated. "I couldn't believe it! Even THIS BOOK" (he waved an interlibrary loan book around in the air), "this book on alchemy, doesn't have ONE THING about humunculus in it! Not one! Not even in the chapter on Paracelsus!" He put the book down in a rather huffy manner and turned back to his email.

I stared out the window, torn between pretending I had understood what he'd just said, curiosity, and my desire to quash my know-it-all academic ego from time to time.

"Um, what?? What the hell is a humunculus?" Excellent. Look at me being Zen about my ego!

Robert stared in disbelief. "You don't know what a humunculus is? Little people? You create them?"


"Wow. I can't believe you've never heard of humunculus!" He shook his head, looked back at his email, then gestured toward the book again. "I did learn one thing from that book, though. Apparently the word "alcohal" used to refer to black eye paint, until Paracelsus, the alchemist, decided that what it really referred to were the spirits of wine. But no one else, in the whole world, thought it meant that. Paracelsus got his way, though."

Mmmmm. Wine.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Of cabbages and kings

We went down to Brooklyn today to see the family. It was a really nice visit. I gave Kenn and Giselle some knitted birthday goodies, pictured here. Kenn's hat might be too big for him. I mean, it fits, but it's biggish. I thought it looked quite good (and so did Giselle and Chester so there!), but since he's the unconvinced wearer he's going to try it out for a winter and see how it goes.

The kids had fun seeing their aunt, uncle, and assorted housemates. They also enjoyed playing with the Pointy Faced Cats who reside at 540. Melville was particularly keen on the twitchy sort of way that Zion dangled the fishing pole toy for him. Oddly, Ajax also prefers to play with this style of toy when Zion is on the other end. Ah, innate talent! July was hot and sulky, so she hid upstairs most of the time, tho she did allow Liel to smoosh her stomach a few times. Coming from July, that's some serious love. And tolerence.

Zion got a haircut with Uncle Kenny's clippers, since we've lost the guards to Robert's. He looks like quite a big boy now, so I'll post some pictures tomorrow or so. Since he was napless today he kind of freaked out about taking his shirt off for the haircut, and I got to hold him for the event. Let me paint the scene: it's a relatively humid 85 degrees in the house. My shirtless, sweaty son is clinging to me- clinging! and sweating!- with his little furnace of a body touching mine at every possible point. We're standing in the kitchen, and Robert is wielding a pair of clippers. Zion's hair is falling on the floor, all over his back, and all over me. It was very prickly. But he looks adorable, so it was a small price to pay, right?

On to other subjects. I read in Backpacker magazine that the town of Woodstock, NY recently voted for the town and it's residents to be carbon-neutral by 2017. How cool is that?? I promptly began exploring the possibility of moving to Woodstock. Sadly, I'm afraid I've hit nothing but dead-ends there. It's too far for Robert to commute very comfortably, and while home buying prices seem quite good, home renting prices leave something to be desired. And we're just not up to committing to a brand new town a 2 hour drive from work with out trying it out first. Guess we'll just keep chipping away at that carbon all by ourselves....

Friday, July 27, 2007

Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax

I have a lot on my mind, so there'll probably be a series of disjointed posts over the next day or two.

Last night we took the kids to a members-only event at the Bronx Zoo. It was lots of fun and the kids got to feed the goats, sheep and llamas at the petting zoo since we remembered quarters this time. What I didn't remember was the camera, so no pics, I'm afraid.

Liel spent most of her time chilling in the mei tai on Robert's back. We had a few comments-amongst-themselves from passerby, and one woman wanted to know where she could get one for her sister, who was "going crazy with that front thing". I'm always happy when someone asks, so we can evangelize about the joys of babywearing. I honestly cannot say enough good things about this, folks. Babies like- even need- to be held. Lots. I mean, if YOU were tiny, immobile, incapable of communicating effectively and someplace brand new to you, would you want to: a. be placed in some plastic contraption all by yourself or b. be snuggled up against the one of the two people who are familiar to you? Yeah, I thought so. And babywearing isn't just for babies! Liel gets worn about 85% of the time when we go out still, and I used a carrier with Zion regularly until he was at least 2 1/2 and still do from time to time. At the zoo yesterday Liel had a great view of the animals, since her head was up at about Robert's shoulder height. She could talk to him easily, point things out, and ask questions. When she's on our backs she is directly and immediatly involved with us and our surroundings.

Of course, Liel is becoming more and more independent, so she didn't spend the whole time in the mei tai. When we got to the children's zoo she had free reign and raced around like crazy. She wanted to climb up on the rails to see the animals better, but swatted and pushed my hands away when I tried to hold her steady: "No, no mama! Self!" I appreciated the spirit, but since she was actually incapable of balancing up there on her own, we had a couple of minor squabbles over baby rights (which were luckily easy to diffuse by saying, "look, Liel! Do you see the skunk looking at you??" Her attention promptly divered she would point and squeal with delight, "Over there! Peeking out! Hi-looooooooo!!").

Thursday, July 26, 2007

They got mad tunes!

So we're sitting here at lunch and Zion is singing "Rhymin' and Stealin'" and not eating aside from the occasional black Moroccan olive. I asked him to please eat some lunch and he said, "But we are the Beastie Boys, and we are singing "Rhymin' and Stealin'". So we cannot eat lunch right now because we have tunes in our mouths".

Playing Dress-Up

Check out the purse I found in the bottom of my old toy chest! It's like a July miracle...My mom bought me this purse at a thrift store in Ventura when I was probably 2-3 years old. It has survived 6 moves, and, even more amazingly, 27 years in the same house as my mom. My mom is the anti pack-rat. Anything left sitting on our kitchen counter for more than 30 minutes was swiped into the trash. She threw out her (and my dad's) high school year books. My gramma actually bought back one of my own toys for me from a garage sale (and my kids play with it now, so there!) once. Still, mom did save some of my toys in my toy chest for me, all those years. Most of them are doll related (hand sewn clothes and the like), and 3 years ago, when I was told it was MY turn to haul all my childhood crap around for a change I looked through everything before putting it in the moving truck- or so I thought. Two days ago Zion was searching through the chest (and not for the first time!) and he found The Purse.

Now if only I had somewhere to take it...but I guess I can still play dress up :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wait, I think I missed something...

Finished reading The Deathly Hallows aloud to Robert last night. I still liked it on the second go, which is good since we usually read them many, many times.

Last night after dinner we went outside to play for a bit. Zion was mowing the lawn with his toy mower and racing around pretending to be a garbage man, and Liel was sitting in the car pretending to drive (both kids enjoy this for some reason. Sometimes they put on bike helmets and pretend to be firefighters). At one point Zion and I were playing a "what's x's name?" game, always a good time, esp since he usually USES the name in question when he's asking. So, for example: "What's Ajax's name?" "Ajax".

Anyway, it suddenly occured to me that it might be a good idea for him to know our names, you know, in case he gets seperated from us at the grocery store someday. So I asked him if he knew what daddy's name was. He said no, but with Zion that's a kind of unreliable answer since he will often come up with information he allegedly does not know or has forgetten if you ask him a few more times. Hoping to jog his memory I asked him if remembered the name of the robot (from our awesome coffee table book Ultimate Robot) that had the same name as daddy. I thought for sure that would do it, as Zion has been quite delighted that there is a robot with the same name as his father for some time. But Zion shook his head, and smiling in rather shifty way said, "I do not know!". "You don't remember which robot has daddy's name?", I asked. "No!" "It's Robert", I said. "Daddy's name is Robert". Without missing a beat Zion asked, "And what is the robot's name?"

Monday, July 23, 2007

No spoilers...yet

I don't know how many of you read or care about Harry Potter (not many, I'm thinking) but I won't discuss Book 7 for a while- a week or so :) Thanks to my wonderful husband (and my own quick reading skills *cough*modest*cough) I was able to haul through all 759 pages in about 6 hours. Some of my friends are trying to savor this last book and read it slowly, but, um, I have no patience. And, more importantly in this case, no regrets. Vegas, baby! Vegas. I'm now reading Book 7 out loud to Robert- we're at page 305.

I finished Zion's fingerless mittens! He's only wearing one in this picture because, well, I'd only done one at the time. And he loooooved wearing that one- wore it hiking, to sleep in, the works. So I quickly knit up another one as soon as he would part with the first (since it wasn't a pattern I needed the first to make sure they were the same length). Now he won't wear the new one. Actually, he hasn't worn either since they became a pair. Perhaps he doesn't want to make the first mitten jealous. How punk is my kid, with his one fingerless glove??

This morning Zion asked me if he could have some rice milk ("milk" from here on out). I said sure, and since I was feeling too lazy to look and see if his milk cup was in the cupboard or the dishwasher or out in the living room I asked him if he'd had any milk yet this morning. He sighed and said, "Yes, but not as much as I might have liked".

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Who needs the Qwik-y Mart?

Yeah. Why would I want to read some book when I could BLOG??

I spent the past couple days knitting on these legwarmers. Before you get too excited, I spent the last part of my waking time yesterday frogging them. I've done a few Fair Isle projects, and enjoyed them, but for some reason this one was sucking. I'm trying to decide what to do with the yarn I bought for them now. Maybe my own legwarmer pattern, in stripes? Stripes can be boring, tho. Maybe skater/tube sock stripes? I thought about socks, but it's a super soft baby alpaca that is NOT machine washable so maybe not. Would you want socks you had to hand wash?

Mailman just came, and in a fit of fantasy I ran to the box to see if The Book had actually come via USPS instaed of UPS. No dice.

I feel too fretful to knit right now, but I also feel like I'm wasting valuable time, since Liel is napping and Robert and Zion are hiking. Ah, there's the rub...

Where art thou????

I have *never* been more anxious and excited to see the UPS man. In fact, I don't remember the last time I was this anxious and excited, period. I yearn for my Harry Potter book. The Deathly Hallows is like my crack, and when have you ever know a junkie who could wait 2 years for a fix?? Yeah, that's what I thought. Model of patience and restraint, right here.

I have butterflies in my stomach. I had trouble falling asleep last night. Come to think of it, I feel remarkably similar to the way I felt the night before I took my first pregnancy test. Now of course I don't think that The Deathly Hallows will bring me the long term joy that Zion has, but, um....we wantsssssss it!! We WANTSSSSSSSSSS it, my precious! It is our birthday present!!

In case you weren't sure, Kenn and Giselle lost to The Deathly Hallows in a sudden death elimination round.

I've washed dishes, swept the floors, run the dishwasher. I don't want to do anything too loud in case I miss the doorbell ringing.

WHERE is the UPS man???

Friday, July 20, 2007

Kenn and Giselle vs The Deathly Hallows...and food

See? I used my brother's witty title suggesiton ;)

But really. We've been trying to see Kenn and Giselle since we got back from Pittsburgh, but keep having conflicts. Tomorrow would be great for everyone EXCEPT for the small matter of the Last Harry Potter Book. Honestly, I thought this battle was over and done with. I might not have even considered it a battle at all, in fact. However, it appears I was mistaken, since I'm now considering heading to Brooklyn tomorrow instead of burying my nose in a book for as long as it takes me to fly through 800 pages or whatever.

If we go tomorrow I could bring them Birthday Pie.

Speaking of food, I made a pretty tasty soup last night! Here's what I did: sautee some sausage (I used precooked chicken, but anything would work). In the future i'll probably add a little onion. I did add a clove of garlic- 2 would be better. Toss in some chopped up potatoes, chicken broth and white wine (I used some white Bourdeaux we got at Red, White, and Bubbly that we aren't crazy about. It was fine in soup. Chardonnay would be good here, too, esp a nice buttery California Chardonnay). Simmer a bit. Add chopped kale, salt, pepper, and carraway seeds. And paprika if you want. Oh and crushed red pepper. Simmer it all til nice and tender, then puree most of the potatoes and kale (or all). Mix it all back together and let the flavors meld. Quite good. Robert felt it was too carraway-y, but I've found he's not really down with Eastern European flavors. Liel loved it.

Make me up 1.2

I'm starting to feel a bit self-concious with all these (semi-lousy) self portraits! But here is today, wearing Frisky Manx :P

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Make me up 1.0

Ok, so I've decided I really like the mineral makeup over at Meow Cosmetics. The good and the bad of this is that there are a couple shades I can wear. Help me figure out which one is *perfect*! So's I can order a big ol' tub and be done for a while. This is me, today, wearing Sleek Korat- excuse the slight "deer in the headlights" look. I'll post another pic with another shade tomorrow.

Video killed the Radio Star

A couple mornings ago Zion was telling me about the Michael Jackson song Bad, which he'd heard on one of our mix CDs. I started telling him about how Michael Jackson had been singing since he was a little boy, and then thought, "hey, why not SHOW him that?" So, off I went to YouTube for a video of the Jackson 5 singing ABC.

Zion was not impressed. "When will he sing Bad"?, he asked.

Bad was easy to find, too.

Now, since I was a poor, disadvantaged child who grew up without cable, virtually all music videos are new to me. So our recent forays (which have also included the Beastie Boys and Tom Waits) are an education for me, too. My favorite part of Bad is towards the end- check out the smooth moves and hot fashion stylings of the guy in the red roller skates!!

Yesterday as we watched Bad Zion pointed to Michael Jackson and said "Is that Michael Jackson?". "Yes", I replied. "He looks like a girl", said Zion. "Yeah, he kind of does in this video", I agreed, "but he is a boy. I guess." Zion nodded. "Because usually only girls have hair hanging down from their heads", he said.

Lest you think that Zion is mastering social norms well ahead of the 3 year old curve, I draw your attention to yesterday evening. We were all outside chatting with our neighbor, Ted. Both kids love Ted, but for some reason Zion was feeling shy at first, and hid behind me, clutching my skirt. Then he moved to the side and front of me, still hanging on to my skirt. I was talking to Ted, and not really paying that much attention to what Zion was doing. Then back behind me when I noticed quite abruptly that Zion was lifting my skirt up MUCH too high. I hastily pushed it back down and pulled him out from behind me just as he loudly asked "Mama, why aren't you wearing any underwear??" "I AM wearing underwear", I replied (I was!). He scurried around to the front of me and began trying to flip my skirt up again. "Then why can't I see them?"

We had a quick word about socially acceptable behavior.

Who's Bad??

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Here's the first of Zion's fingerless mittens. I haven't woven in the ends yet.

Its rainy here today. Quite a bit cooler, but very, very muggy. I don't think I'd really like living in Seattle, as cool as Seattle seems to be.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ups and Downs

We've had an up and down kinda day. The first batch of my yarn-for-Hanukkah-gifts (and Robert's bday) arrived today, but I don't like one of the two greens Robert chose for his bag. He'll have to look at them after I post this and decide if it warrants an exchange. I started on Julie's gift, and did some more work on the fingerless mittens I'm designing for Zion. I just need to knit another inch or so in the hand and then do the thumb and I'll have a complete model for him to try in the morning!

Robert's stressed because one of his bike pedals broke while we were in Pittsburgh. When we got home he sent it in to be repaired. It's been almost two weeks, and no pedal. He hates not being able to ride, and we found out today that they shipped the pedal to Pittsburgh, despite the return address AND the note in the package giving all our contact info and the address to which the pedal should be mailed.

AND we're trying to re-work the 110 syllabus. It's tough trying to create a class that covers the very broad subject of "religion" to be taught to surly 18 year olds who don't want to be in the class, but have to (it's a requirement at our college). And I get to teach them at 8am, too! Oh joy.

This evening the kids played in the wading pool over at our neighbor's house. Jordan is 34 weeks pregnant with #2, so her life is already pretty uncomfortable right now. The hottest, most uncomfortable time in my life was the summer I was pregnant with Liel and living in Brooklyn. It sucked. As Liel and Will splashed and Zion "fished" from outside the pool Jordan told us that since getting up from his nap an hour earlier Will had pooped on the deck, peed on the rug in the living room, and thrown his bowl of cherries and blueberries at the kitchen wall. "Sometimes I wonder why I decided to stay home", she sighed as her son and my daughter splashed around her in the wading pool.

Guess it was just one of those days for everyone.

Monday, July 16, 2007

51 orange tentacles

This is what that looks like, if you were curious. 24 more to go!

Also, a couple of food notes: 1. I made a delicious kohlrabi slaw a couple nights ago. I shredded the purple kholrabi we got from our CSA along with a couple of carrots and some spring onions (also from the CSA). I salted and drained the kholrabi very briefly and squeezed out some excess water. Then I added some red wine vinegar, some pepper (Penzey's Tellicherry black pepper, if you're interested) and a couple biggish spoonfuls of Veganaise. Mixed together and yum!

2. I have mastered the eggless Key Lime Pie. In the past I've had trouble getting the proper consistency using my trusty Ener-g Egg Replacer. Normally this stuff is the bomb- simple to use (just substitute for eggs- 1.5 tsps of the powder + 2 T water = 1 egg) and impossible to detect in baked goods. For custards, tho, it's really a bit lacking. It doesn't lend the smoothness and richness of eggs, and even less of egg yolks. Furthermore, I've found that doing a direct subsitution, which normally works flawlessly, is not sufficient for custards. They just won't set up properly. My Key Lim Pie recipe uses 4 egg yolks. I know that if i put 4 Egg Replacer egg yolks in, my pie won't hold pretty slices. So I've tried different things, and here's what I find works: put in enough powder for 5 egg yolks, but only enough water for 4. Voila. Beautiful and tasty egg free Key Lime Pie!

Goodness, corners!

Liel is learning to use the toilet. This started when we were in Pittsburgh and is continuing, which is nice. She gets an M&M every time she uses the potty, and so does Zion (what a deal for him, huh?). Sometimes she'll ask to sit on the potty and not actually do anything. Then she'll ask for toilet paper (a coveted item): "paper, paper!". Then she'll wipe and check the toilet paper while saying "wipe. wipe. Goodness!!!!!"

Zion had to go to time out twice this morning, once for chasing the cat and once of pushing at his sister. As he stood in his second time out he shouted, "Mama! I do not LIKE this.....!". Sensing a "teaching moment" I quickly jumped in with "Well, if you are kind to Liel and Ajax you won't have to go to time out". Unmoved, and perhaps annoyed that I had interrupted him, Zion shouted again "I do not like THIS HOUSE because it has too many corners!"

Saturday, July 14, 2007

50's housewife

Today I am baking Key Lime Pie and starting to knit Robert's birthday gift. The pie looks lovely, as you can see (:P) so now I need to ball my yarn and knit 75 3-inch long cords. I think this will be the least fun part of this knitting project, so I may as well get it out of the way first. It's a good thing I love Robert so much!

Since my recent posts have been lacking in pictures I thought I'd make up for it a bit this time with some shots of the kids hiking, an activity they both enjoy.

Friday, July 13, 2007

But was it stuffy and tarnished?

This morning as Zion was petting Ajax I noticed he seemed to be concentrating his attention on Ajax's ears. Not behind his ears, as cats often like, but on his little prick ears (This cat's tolerence is amazing). I asked him what he was doing.

"Mama, I want Ajax to look like a nice cat, so I am polishing his ears".

Of course.

Actually, we've been reading a book where a goat has her horns and hooves polished as part of her daily care- clearly they origin of this idea. I like how readily Zion substituted "ears" for "horns" and his eagerness to ensure that his cat would be race-ready.

The Goods

Here's what came to our CSA yesterday: lettuce, zucchini, parsely, kohlarhabi, spring onions, napa cabbage, daikon, and (wait for it!) 8 cucumbers. Last night I turned 3 of them into a quicky salad with beets and dill. We had an overabundance of cucumbers this time last year, too. I'm thinkin' that Hawthorne Valley needs to plant fewer cucumbers next year, you know? And more...I dunno, dinosaur kale. Or red russian kale. Or carrots. Options with cucumbers are just pretty damn limited!

Robert worked one of our two mandatory volunteer shifts yesterday and reported that his main job was to confirm the bad news printed on the sign: No Fruit This Week. Disappointed CSA members apparently thought (and even hoped!) that the sign was joke, or that Robert had secretly taken ALL the fruit shares, but that if, upon reading the sign, they turned to him, disbelieving, and said "No fruit this week?" he would cough up their portion. Ah well. The rumor mill says there may be blueberries next week.

I had the best blueberries of my life one summer about 9 years ago. My mom asked Kenny and I to pick up her Mountain People's Warehouse order from it's delivery point while she and Dad were at work. We did so, and were delighted to discover a flat of blueberries among our new charges. We popped a few in our mouths as we loaded the van. Oh man. They were unlike any blueberry before or since- truly the form of blueberry. We ate a pint on the 10 minute drive home. Maybe two. The only thing that restrained us from eating the entire flat was our still-crisp memory of The Main Family Fruit Platter Incident of 1983. The Hawthorne Valley Farm blueberries are good, but being food for mere mortals, they cannot measure up.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The only starfish in the sea

Ever since I posted about lacrosse balls (or our the lack thereof) yesterday I've had the song "Red Rubber Ball" stuck in my head. My only real exposure to this song came from a Saturday Night Live skit from 1984, when I was 8 years old. I wasn't actually allowed to stay up late enough to watch SNL at age 8 (in fact, I believe my bedtime was approx. 830pm), but someone in my family had recorded one episode of SNL on a VHS tape, and we all watched it many times. Either that or it made a really big impression on me, cause I can still vividly recall many of the skits from this episode.

Jesse Jackson was the host, and in one skit he and a cast member playing Sammy Davis, Jr. are discussing Jackson's nerves about hosting SNL. A sing along is suggested, and Jesse Jackson says he'd like to sing "Red Rubber Ball", by "The Cyrkle" (or, as I understood it at age 8, "Red Rubber Ball By The Circle"), and they do. Not that exciting, really (the New York Times actually found it pretty awful), but it's stuck in my mind 23 years later. I hate that!

Last night's zucchini bread turned out great, though I think I might leave out the cinnamon in the loaf next time. Maybe cardamom. I love cardamom.

It's lovely and cool today (well, relatively speaking...) so I think I'll do some cooking that I've been unwilling to do in the Hot Days. Beets to be roasted and all.

Zion wants to go play lacrosse, so I'm sure we'll spend lots of time outside. He slept with his stick last night, which Robert and I both found hilarious and adorable- a sign of things to come?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Zucchini Bread

Thursdays are our pick-up day from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture group- find one near you here!). This is our second year with Hawthorne Valley Farm, and we love them. The produce is delicious (the best we've had since leaving California), healthy and abundant. Did I mention abundant? I'll probably start listing our weekly inventory here- it's pretty amazing. In addition to all the social and political benefits of eating local and supporting small farms, CSA's have the added benefit of ensuring that you are eating lots of veggies, cause they just keep coming, every week, and you've already paid for them.

Right now, we're seeing a lot of zucchini. In addition to the zucchini we got from the CSA last week our neighbors gifted us with several large ones as well. We've eaten a lot of zucchini this week, and yet on Wednesday night I had 3 good sized zucchini in my fridge and was staring down the barrel of MORE zucchini arriving the next day. I suppose I could have grilled some up as a tasty side dish to our dinner (arugala, white bean and red pepper salad with sausage and onions), but instead I decided to bake zucchini bread.

I trust Cook's Illustrated for nealry all things food related, unless I already know better myself. This was not one of those occasions, so I pulled out my trusty (and enormous) Best Recipe cookbook. I grated, drained, and squeezed the excess water out of 2 pounds of zucchini (I figured I may as well bake two loaves, thus using up all my current zucchini and only turning my oven on for the same amount of time). As I was mixing the dry ingredients I started to remember doing the same thing the previous summer. And I seemed to recall that Robert had found the Cook's recipe, the very one I was about to make 2 loaves of, bland and boring. In fairness it is a pretty bland recipe, but they claim it's something like "bright and relatively light" (yes, definitely relatively, as it calls for 6 T of butter per loaf!). At any rate, I didn't want to bake bland zucchini bread, so I threw caution to the wind, ignored Cook's advice, added a touch of cinnamon to the batter, and sprinkled the tops of the loaves with a cinnamon/sugar/nutmeg combo. They just came out of the oven, and they smell awesome. Stay tuned for a full review...


Today we went to buy some sport equipment for Zion (and Liel, though she's really a bit young for most of it). We had a T-ball set or a soccer goal in mind (we already have the ball for that), but neither Target nor Modell's had a decent T. While we were looking at goals Zion started playing with some little lacrosse sticks and $65 later we had a goal (suitable for soccer or lacrosse!) and two small sticks. And one ball. For some reason we didn't think to buy extras of those, an oversight we already regret. Zion played happily with his stick in the backyard after lunch, and is pretty decent at scooping the ball up off the ground with the stick, although he refuses to even try to hold the stick vertically: "No mama, I hold it like this" (out in front). I tried to explain the usefulness of cradling the ball as he runs, but he wasn't interested it that, either. He seems to be doing a bit of it on his own anyway, though.

In knitting news, I'm nearly done with my first pair of Fetching mittens. Yay! I worked the second one while we watched "Curse of the Golden Flower". It was much better than Judge Dredd, and very cool visually. You just don't see lavish sets with thousands of extras much anymore. Still, I'm not sure I can recommend that you rush right out and rent it.

10 days until the last Harry Potter book...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Plague

The illness started with Zion. On Friday he had a nose running like a faucet (and getting smeared all over his face, attracting all manner of dirt, and drying in horrible crusty formations) and complained of hurting in his mouth/throat. On Saturday morning Liel had a runny nose, too. On Sunday Zion was improving, tho still snotty and Liel was a bit worse. We were supposed to go visit Kenn and Giselle, but opted out since the kids don't usually nap there and I figured they needed their rest esp when sick. By Sunday afternoon Robert and I were sick, too. At this point Zion is pretty much well, and the rest of us are slogging in that direction. Lame. As if illness isn't bad enough by itself, when will we see Kenn and Giselle now?? Giselle's dad, Murray, will be visiting this coming weekend, and the final Harry Potter book is coming out the weekend after that.

I finally ordered some (but not all!) of the yarn I need for holiday gifts for this year. At last count I have 15 knitted gifts on my list, excluding my own kids and baby shower gifts. Yikes! Couple that with me teaching two classes in the fall and I need to do some serious knitting this summer. Today I finished one half of my first Fetching set (cabled fingerless gloves. I'll be knitting 3 sets in total).

As I was putting Zion to bed tonight he was looking at his Jewish Holidays book and discussing various illustrations with me and Ajax. He told me that he will be a rabbi when he gets bigger, because then he will get to take the Torah out. And rabbis are biggish. Heh.

P.S. Happy 36th anniversary to my parents!! That's, like, a lot of years. Wow, man. Wow.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Little ham

Liel loves her new Threadless shirt: Partly Hungry Skies. She wakes up in the morning asking to wear her sun shirt. Today she eagerly posed for pictures in The Shirt, saying "another!" after every camera flash. Here are the results of her photo shoot!

My first glove

Here it is! I still need to make its mate. I used heavier than called for yarn and only adjusted the pattern very slightly. as a result, the hand is pretty loose on me. I might unravel and try to decrease a bit to tighten it up. But I realllly don't like unraveling, so I might just live with it. Hmmm, when I put it that way it sounds pretty lazy....

It's hot today. Damn hot. Both the kids have colds.

I'm totally going to have to unravel the hand of this glove.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Bad Knitting Day

So, today I bought yarn for various gift baby projects. We seriously know 8 babies due to be born around or before the end of this year! Where were all these friend babies when I was pregnant with Zion I ask you??

At any rate, I cast on for the Baby Baseball Tee for Baby Kurlinski. I'm using worsted weight yarn instead of the DK the pattern calls for, and since the pattern is only sized for 3 months I figured I'd follow it with my bigger gauge (4.5 sts/in vs. 5.5 sts/in) and get a bigger size, since Baby Kurlinski is due in early October and could then wear the sweater well into the winter. Well, after knitting nearly 4 inches of the back I realized that the sweater I was knitting would fit a 12-18 month old, not the 3-6 month old I'd hoped. Sooooo, I tore it all out. I haven't cast on again yet.

Tried something new for dinner today, too. An Argentinian chicken dish in Chimichurri sauce. I liked it quite well, but I was using boneless chicken instead of a whole, chopped up chicken (what is it with me and subsitutions today? oh, ok, it's not just today...), and hence the chicken was done before the potatoes, even tho I cut them up fairly small. Robert the potato-hater was not disappointed, but I was. Ah well. Sauce was made of oil and vinegar with garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika and some crushed red pepper. Kids liked it quite well.

And now I'm unusually tired. I think I'm having sympathy pregnancy symptoms, since my friend Lisa just got a BFP today. Luckily, she is not due until next year ;)

I guess I shouldn't complain too much about my lousy knitting day. Yesterday I knocked off a Luxe Neck Warmer in a lovely Tahki Baby yarn! It's super cool. It will be a holiday gift for someone who I haven't chosen yet :P

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Hot Today

So, after yesterday's disappointing weather, it's quite warm and muggy today. Can't win, eh? We did have a wonderful time at Mr. Faux's 4th of July bash last night. We stayed dry, chatted with friends, and saw the cool fireworks. The kids did great, tho neither slept until we got back to our car in the Bronx at 11pm. Yikes! Liel also managed to spill an entire glass of red wine all over her Partly Hungry Skies shirt (it was left unattended and she was trying to drink it. good thing she's not a great shot with a cup yet, eh?), which happens to be her favorite. It's soaking in the excellent Dawn and peroxide solution right now, and will hopefully be ready for her to wear again tomorrow. She has a powerful wine radar. Luckily the family whom we sat next to has a son a week younger than Liel who also runs around Red, White, and Bubbly saying "wine! wine!", so we didn't look like bad parents to them, at least.

Pictures are of Liel in the mei tai on the train, Robert and Zion watching fireworks, and of course, an obligatory fireworks shot.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


I finished the V Neck Sweater :) :) :) Now I will be able to wear it tonight and be toasty warm.

Mr. Faux called earlier to say that his mother had cancelled for tonight due to the predicted heavy thunderstorms, thus freeing all invitees of their obligation should they so choose. After a bit of thought we've decided to go anyway. If we need to leave early on account of the kids we will, but either way we'll see some friends and have fun.

And look cute in our new sweaters, of course ;)


Is it really the 4th of July?? Cause it's COLD here in NY! (I should probably point out that I'm from Southern California. I was on the phone with my mom yesterday and she asked how the weather was here. I said it was gorgeous, sunny and in the 70's. She said "High 70's or low 70's? Cause I think low 70's is COLD!") Right now it's about 70, gray, and windy. Thunderstorms are predicted tonight. I'm super bummed cause our good friend Mr. Faux (that's Uncle Mr. Faux to the kids!) has invited us to his annual July 4 bash and it is outdoors (with a kickass view of the fireworks on the East River, since the barge is in clear sight from where we will sit). I hope the rain doesn't happen, or if it does that it doesn't interfere with the fireworks. I will almost certainly be cold, so I'm trying to finish my sweater so I can wear it. Then there'd be an upside to this crazy weather!

In other knitting news, I joined Ravelry today. Woohoo! I need to find some more cute baby sweater patterns. There seem to be a lot of babies due to join our friends this year!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Vegan Ice Cream 1.0

I've seen some recipes on the web for vegan ice creams that use tofu as their base. I was intrigued. So tonight I made my own tofu ice cream. Here's what I used:
3/4's of a 19oz package of firm tofu (the refridgerated kind, Trader Joe's didn't have tetrapak and I was too lazy to look elsewhere)
1/2 cup sugar
1 15 oz can apricots, drained
1 c soy milk

I blended all this up in the Cuisinart for a good while and then added a touch of lemon juice and put it in my ice cream maker. The result is pretty alright, but I think next time I'll use more fruit (possibly as much as 2x's as much, at least for something mild like apricots), a bit more sugar, and get some Mori-nu or something. I think the style has potential! Liel ate all of hers and demanded more. Zion didn't eat all of his, but claimed to like it (he often doesn't finish his desserts, so probably true). Robert announced that he found it gritty (damn that lack of silken tofu!) when he tasted it while it was freezing, but still ate all of Zion's leftovers (they appear to be opposites: one will eat a sweet he likes only until he is satisfied, the other will eat a sweet he doesn't particularly care for until it is gone or he is queasy from so much sugar, whichever comes first).


My V Neck sweater is coming along nicely! I finished the sleeve and edged the neck last night while we watched "Judge Dredd". Robert is in charge of our Netflix list. Mostly he does a great job but every once in a while...The man thinks that "Blade" is a top quality movie. Both of us generally like movies that are either dumb comedies or where shit blows up, but yeah. "Blade"? "Judge Dredd"? Not for me, thanks...

This morning I seamed the sleeve and started on the second. Yay! Maybe I can even finish tonight.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Just a few Pittsburgh pictures


And my lovely grandmother :)

And, we're back.

We just returned home after a month in Pittsburgh. I spent approximately 29 years not thinking about Pittsburgh at all, but as it turns out, Pittsburgh is a pretty hip town. Cool bridges, very little traffic, and some yummy food.

Food highlight: Tram's Kitchen. This Vietnamese joint rocks. Some of their noodle dishes are better than those at my favorite place in Manhattan (ssssshhh!), and their fresh spring rolls are the Best. Ever. Pho and other noodle soups are very delicious, but have plenty of rivals. The noodles with coconut milk and chicken are worth a trip to Pittsburgh, tho, or at least a stop on your drive.

While we were in Pittsburgh, Zion (3 years) got to see lots of trains, including the ever-popular coal trains. On our second day there as we drove down the highway he spotted a train loaded with coal. It was lumbering along (no doubt due to it's heavy load) so slowly that he asked us if the train was still moving. We assured him that it was moving, but that it was difficult to see that from the car, since we were moving quickly and the train was moving very slowly. He considered this for moment and then asked "Is it a 1 train?" (The 1 train in New York runs locally, and so it makes frequent stops. With his preschooler impatience Zion has decided that this slowness is No Good, and that his favorite trains are the A and the D (which run express on the routes that we usually take).)

Also while we were in Pittsburgh I was unable to connect to the internet unless I was actually in Liel's bedroom. Since she sleeps more than anyone in the family this meant that my time online was drastically curtailed. To fill the void I began knitting voraciously, as much as 5 hours a day (the Pittsburgh house also had cable. Oh the joys of rotting my brain in front of the TV and knitting after the kids had gone to bed at night!). I'd brought all my partial skiens of yarn to Pittsburgh and turned them into an entrelac throw (that's it in the picture above). My gramma came to visit while we were there, and I gave it to her. And bless her, she bought me a set of Denise interchangable knitting needles! They are dreamy. I celebrated by starting a new project- the V Neck Sweater with Deep Ribbing from Fitted Knits. I started the sweater on Tuesday, and am now done with the body and 3/4's of the first sleeve. I'm knitting it with Malabrigo yarn and I am in LOVE. This yarn is so soft and squishy and yummy! This is also the first sweater I've made using top down construction, and I'm really digging that, too. In fact, I'm digging it so much that I'm now reluctant to knit a sweater any other way. Clearly I will have to learn to modify patterns.