Friday, August 31, 2007

I can't quite think of the word...

Yesterday Liel wanted to wear Hello Kitty underwear. I helped her put them on and then set her back down on th floor. She made an unhappy face and said something in a Complaining voice that I didn't quite understand. I asked her to repeat it.

"Something...sticking out!", she wailed, plucking at the hem of her shirt.

Thinking something was poking her in her shirt I picked up the edge to check it for sharp objects. As I did so I noticed that I had failed to pull her undies up over her bottom, which was completely exposed.

Something sticking out, indeed.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

50 pounds of meat

Our Paidom order arrived today. Here's what 50 lbs of meat looks like in my standard, above the fridge freezer.

Of course, it's not all for us, this time. But so tempting! As you can see I have room to spare + other things in there (the pink stuff is a pomegranate/white tea sorbet I made).

My Fusion BBQ

Made a totally kick-ass dinner last night. First, there was pita bread (homemade, of course!). Then I topped it with cheater pulled chicken (seared chicken on one side, flipped it and poached to cook thru, then shredded it, tossed with a vinegary basting sauce and finished with bbq sauce from the Salt Lick in Austin, TX). The chicken was topped with one of two cole slaws: creamy (veganaise, vinegar, carrots) or vinegar (um, vinegar. and sugar. and mustard. and carraway seeds). Rolled it wrap style and YUM.

We also had broccoli. The kids love broccoli. With Veganaise. Some traditions die hard (or not at all)!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I've found my dog...sort of.

I am totally in love with French Bulldogs. The "sort of" is because: 1. Robert thinks they are ugly (how, I've no idea. They are the cutest dogs ever, for real!) and 2. they are wicked expensive. I found an adult via the French Bulldog Rescue Network that I think would be perfect for us, but she's in California. *sob* In theory we could still adopt her, but I'd have to fly to CA to get her. And I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen. So I'm keeping my eyes out for an adult Frenchie in need of a home somewhere near NY. Let me know if you hear of anything, k?

It's all so clear now!

Check out Miss Teen South Carolina (competeing in the Miss Teen USA pagent) and please, if you can figure out any way for the words comin' out of her mouth to make sense, let me know!

Cookbook Lust

I love cookbooks. I love to read them, stare at the pictures, imagine meals, have them on my shelf. If they have stories or history, so much the better!

Right now I'm lusting after these cookbooks:
Land of Plenty
Into the Vietnamese Kitchen
Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook

I'm currently making pickled green beans ala Landy of Plenty (found the recipe on the Kitchen Chick) to be cooked with ground chicken and spices and served with rice. I also have cabbage salting in a colander in the sink, waiting to become two different kinds of cole slaw. I'm on slighty-pickled-vegetable kick. Pickles. Yum.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Mensch named Mindel

Zion has recently developed quite an interest in Hebrew names- who has them, who doesn't, and what they are. He asks about them quite often. About a week ago he asking about the Hebrew names of those friends of ours that he knows. Since most of them aren't Jewish, it wasn't turning out to be very exciting. Finally he asked what Uncle Vogelman!'s Hebrew name was. Now Vogelman! is one of Robert's best friends (he was best man at our wedding and sandek at Zion's bris) and Jewish, but I had no idea what his Hebrew name was. So I called him. And got his voicemail. I left a message explaining that Zion was wondering what his Hebrew name was and I didn't know, so pls call back, kthanx!

And I didn't hear from him. Then two days ago Robert told me that Vogelman! had called back the night I'd left the message while I was down with Liel, and reported that they had the following conversation.

V!: I hear Zion wants to know about my Hebrew name. Jovi called.
R: Yeah, we don't know what it is.
V!: It's Mindel.
R: Did you get that when you were in Israel or did your mom give it to you?
V!: My mom gave it to me. It was my grandmother's name.
R: Hmmm. I see...
V!: (shouting) My name is Sue! How do you do? Now you gonna die!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

School Daze

School started up again today. I was pretty sulky about it, esp since my 8am last year was only slightly more lively than death warmed over. Some days. Other days it was just plain death. These kids don't choose their own schedules, and NONE of them were happy to be up at 8am. This year, I'm happy to report, the 8ams seem alive! So I'm feeling very optomistic that the semester will be a happy one. I even heard one student saying to another as they left class, "I like this class!" At 8am! For a required for all students course!

Butterfly Tummy

Here's the sweater I'm knitting for Liel. I think it's turing out pretty cute, and it's knitting up fairly quickly. Should be done in a day or two, so then Liel can model it! I've been trying it on her as I go (LOVE top down construction!) and it fits her nicely. I'm calling it the "Butterfly Tummy Sweater", for obvious reasons.

And here's a close up of that butterfly (yes, the sweater needs to be blocked so the colorwork lies flat. I'll do it when I'm done, OK?):

Sunday, August 26, 2007

No Pickles at All

Yesterday I sterilized a jar and found a lid so that I could make pickles and then discovered that...we didn't get cucumbers in our CSA last week. D'oh!

Liel has started using pronouns this week. She's been using "I" for a week or two, but suddenly her speech is peppered with "hes" and "shes". It's amazing how much more complex it makes her sentences! No pronouns, but she just found a wrapper on the floor and said "Should I put this in trash, mama?"

I did finish the Tree Jacket yesterday, and I love it! I also make a Bukharan style kippah for Zion for Rosh Hashanah. It's made with a variagated yarn that he calls "stripey" and picked out himself. Today I started a sweater for Liel. She said she wanted a butterfly on it, so I'm doing this really cool Chinese-style one, but I started the colorwork too low :( Hopefully it'll still look OK, tho I doubt it'll look fabulous. Oh well- she'll probably only wear it for a year anyway!

OH! I almost forgot my most exciting news. Robert and I went on a date! Our first in a year. After we put the kids to bed we went and saw "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" while Vince and Wanda stayed here. We saw it at the IMAX and it was super, super cool. It was both of our favorite of the HP movies thus far. This may be a banner year for dates: my parents are coming to visit in a month so babysitters will abound!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Not-Dill Pickles?

My brother sent me an awesome link to the Homesick Texan's recipe for refridgerator dill pickles. I must try them. Only thing is, I don't have any fresh dill right now. 2 weeks ago? Yes. But today, no. I could buy dill. But I'm kind of against buying produce during prime CSA season, esp if it's something we routinely get from our CSA. So, what do you think? Skip the dill? Use parseley? I also have fresh basil and fennel, but I'm pretty sure that I won't be able to convince Robert to eat pickles made with those herbs, esp since he's leery of homemade pickles anyway (which is odd, since the bread and butter pickles Kenn and Giselle made us are among his favorites).

We had a fun, long trip to the zoo yesterday. The kids loved it and did great, but had very short naps as a result and are grumpy as all get out today. It'll be early naptime here!

To add to the fun the weather has suddenly remembered that it's August and man is it hot! We're supposed to hit 99 degrees today, and it's gray and muggy and humid. My coastal Californian self cries a little every time we have weather like this. ...maybe more than a little.

I just need to seem a sleeve on the Tree Jacket and weave in the ends (and maybe redo the bind off around the body), and it'll be done. Then on to the children's sweaters! Look for pics later today.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Almost there...

I have one more sleeve to go on the Tree Jacket! I think it's going to be a 30 hour sweater. Sounds like kind of a lot, but really, in just an hour a day, you too can have your very own hand knit sweater! As seen on TV! I'm lazy, will post pics when I'm done.

Robert's dad and his wife arrived for a visit yesterday. They live in Texas, and this is their first visit to us in New York. It's been whirlwindy so far- hiking, visits to the college, picking up the CSA...we're going to the Bronx Zoo tomorrow, and possibly wine tasting Saturday on the Shawangunk Wine Trail (yes, I know, with a name like that it just reeks of class and sophistication! Actually, we've been to a few of the wineries and found the wine to be quite nice. The map we got boasts that "the Hudson Valley has been called the Napa of the East...but perhaps it would be more accurate to call Napa the Hudson of the West!", and that's a stretch for sure but nice wine, all the same).

And finally- SOCKS! Last fall I began a love affair with knee and thigh-high socks. Because I'm tall I often have a hard time finding tights that are long enough in the leg. And who wants to walk around in tights with the crotch 4" below where it should be? So tall socks have filled in for me quite nicely, keeping me warm under jeans in the winter and stretching skirt season well into the fall. All this cool weather has put me in a sock-ish frame of mind, and I ordered a couple new pairs from Sock Dreams which arrived today. Here's me in my black and white M Stripes!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Is it August?

The weather has been so cool the past few days. Check out Liel's (super cute) outfit! I'm sure it'll be hot again soon know, when I'm sweltering in my 3rd floor classroom next week ;)

From the mouths of not me!

So, remember how I was all evangelizing CSAs a few weeks back? You know, more than I normally do? Well, Devon joined a CSA in her neighborhood, and I got this (unsolicited!) email from her today:

"Hi Jovs,
I'm so excited. I just got home from picking up my first CSA delivery. It rocks!! I can't believe how much stuff is inside -- arugula, basil, cantaloupe, carrots, cucumbers (2 kinds -- have you ever heard of a lemon cucumber?), eggplant, garlic, oranges, romaine lettuce (2 heads), yellow onions, radishes, squash and tomatoes. I can't wait to start making yummy stuff. We're heading over to Vince's parents' house tonight for dinner. I think I'm going to bring them some lettuce and tomatoes b/c I just don't think we'll be able to eat it all in time. This CSA thing is super cool!!"

MmmmmHmmmm. Told ya. All the cool kids are joining CSAs, cause CSAs are rockstar!

Mom- Avert your eyes!

Here's the first sock I've making :) They're for my mom, at her request . I like the lace pattern, and if I ever recover from making this pair I might make some for me. They aren't difficult to make, but are slow- what you see here represents about 5 hours worth of knitting!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Many months ago, when Liel was first learning to speak, she pulled away from me during her pre-bedtime nursing and said, "Yummy yummy!" It was terribly cute and sweet.

Tonight Liel pulled away from me during her pre-bedtime nursing and said, "Mutiny in Bounty is all about! Ship!" (As in, "Mutiny on the Bounty's what we're all about/I'm gonna board your ship and turn it on out".)


Monday, August 20, 2007

Vegan Kheer

While I was basking in my knitting glory I almost forgot to brag about my cooking triumph!
...Er, what I meant to say was, I modestly hesitated to mention my dessert creation on the same day as I posted pictures of my knitting. Yeah!

I'm not vegan, but I figure that reducing the amount of animal products in our diet is good for everyone. However, I'm enough of a hedonist that I won't bother cooking and eating a vegan dessert unless its actually delicious, cause hey, there's fresh fruit, right? Vegan as it comes and so much better than most "healthy" desserts. But some vegan desserts can rock, and last night we had our neighbors to dinner and I created this tasty little number.

Saffron Coconut Kheer

3 1/2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup basmati rice
1/4 tsp saffron threads
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (could use stevia, probably. worth a try.)
1/2 can coconut milk (full fat. could use coconut cream, too, tho reduce the sugar if it's sweetened as is often the case)

Combine soy milk, saffron and rice in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. This will take about 20 minutes, but its not as boring or tedious as it sounds. When you have a nice, thick, gloppy rice mixture remove from heat and stir in the sugar. When it tastes sweet enough add the coconut milk and stir well. Cool to desired temperature and serve.

First Saartje Booties

I had a somewhat frustrating knitting weekend, but I did make these adorable booties.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Remember a few weeks ago, when Zion said he couldn't eat lunch because he had tunes in his mouth? Well, a week ago my MIL sent the kids a package, and included in it was this toothbrush. We finally opened it up today, and it's actually pretty cool! Zion definitly suffers from short brushing times (about 10 seconds) and very little actual BRUSHING (he mostly chews on the brush or sucks the toothpaste off. Don't worry, it's flouride free!). We of course brush his teeth after he's done, but this morning when he used the Tooth Tunes he actually brushed his teeth! For at least one of the two minutes! His toothbrush plays the Black Eyed Peas singing "Let's get it Started". I think the Village People (YMCA) and Kiss (Rock and Roll All Nite) would be cool, too.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Buffalo Spirit

When Robert was about 18 his mom gave him an illustrated book called Old Turtle. It's a book about how we should all stop arguing about G-d, realize S/he is everywhere and everything, and act accordingly. It begins with plants and animals and geographic features of the earth insisting that G-d is like whatever they are, and then the people being to disagree too and the plants and animals and people begin to fight and die. This sad moment is illustrated with a picture of a ravaged wilderness, a burnt orange sky, some dead fish in the river, and a cow skeleton.

Sometimes the kids like to look at the animal pictures in this book. Last night Zion was flipping through it and stopped on the ravaged earth page. He asked what the cow skeleton was, and why there were dead fish. We explained that people were not being kind to each other or to animals, that they were fighting about G-d, and hurting and killing each other and the earth. Zion looked at the picture for a moment and then picked up his toy buffalo and waved him over the book. "Buffalo is making the world beautiful again", he explained.

And so is Zion.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Growing Girl

I took Liel to the pedetrician for a weight check today. Ever since her 6 month appt her height has been growing along nicely, but her weight has been dropping lower and lower on the chart. At her 18 month appt she was below the 5th% for weight, and barely on the chart at all. I'm not concerned about her- my family tends to be thin and she's growing and developing fine. I don't think her doc is overly concerned, either, but he asked us to do the weight checks (just to cover bases in case of malpractice I'm guessing), so we are cause we like him and like his doctoring style.

She weighs 22 1/2 lbs!! That means that she gained 2 lbs in 3 months, more than triple her normal 3 month weight gain of 8-10 ounces. It also puts her weight in the 10th%. Her doctor was pleased (I think he was a bit concerned she was going to go off the weight chart). I'm not convinced she won't be lower on the chart again in 3 months when we go back, but it's nice to see her growing along (and proving me right. As I was walking the 1/2 mile to the dr's office with her on my back in the mei tai I thought: she feels heavier. I bet she's gained weight!).

Call and Response

The other day as I was making lunch for the kids I heard Zion instructing Liel, "No, Liel. I say 'No sleep' and you say, 'til Brooklyn!' NO SLEEP!" Robert reports that he heard the same conversation coming from the bike trailer on their ride two days ago. Liel doesn't seem to quite understand the game, but it's wonderful watching (and hearing) the kids interact more :P

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Tomatoes are coming!

Last week we got the first of the summer tomatoes in our CSA. Yesterday, our neighbor came by with a 1 gallon ziploc bag full of baby roma tomatoes and a smaller ziploc of cherry tomatoes. A client had given him an excessively generous amount and he was sharing the bounty. Today Zion spotted some ripe cherry tomatoes on our volunteer tomato plants (seeded from last year's squirrel-fest), and a couple of small Brandywines, too. And- oh!- we got more tomatoes in our CSA share today. Zion ate the cherry tomatoes from our garden standing right next to the plant (the very best way to eat tomatoes, really. So fresh!), and Liel carried one of the bigger ones around, tucked under her arm, for an hour before nap time. Sometimes she would set it down and forget where she put it and then look around demanding, "May-toe? May-toe? Where my may-toe go? Want it, mama! Want may-toe!"

Yesterday afternoon Robert cheerfully noted that we had, at least, vanquished our cucumber supply. I brought him back to reality by showing him the 4 cucumbers still nestled in the crisper drawer. And what else did we get in our CSA share today, aside from tomatoes, you ask? Well:

-5 cucumbers (Though we did eat the remainders from last week for dinner last night in a Hungarian cucumber salad. Remember when I said that every cuisine has a cucumber salad? This summer I'm trying them all.)
-4 lbs of potatoes
-summer squash
-dandelion greens
-green beans
-bell peppers

I love summer on the farm!

15 hours

This is what the Tree Jacket looks like after about 15 hours of knitting. I'm a little bored, though, so I started knitting a scarf for my aunt. She wanted a super soft, non-itchy yarn and she wanted it in black. I bought this chenille, and I hope she likes the open, lacey pattern. Since she lives in Santa Cruz I figured she'd like something slightly less heavy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


It's been a meaty couple of days. Yesterday we placed a 55 pound meat order from this totally awesome Texas rancher. We're only getting 40 lbs or so of that 55...the rest is for my brother and the crew at his house. We've been ordering meat from Alan for 4 or 5 years now. His beef is just amazing! All his cattle are free roaming and grass fed and he raises them from calf to slaughter. No feed lots, overcrowding, antibiotics, or questionable crap. The end result is delicious and as ethical as meat comes (he raises chickens, pigs and goats, too!). 50 lbs is the minimum order but it's really not as huge as you might think. We've always been able to fit the 50 lbs into our standard top-of-the-fridge freezer. Carnivores, you really gotta check this out (and tell him I sent you)! Forget Kobe beef and all those lame designer steaks- you haven't eaten beef until you've eaten this stuff. Real beef! Steak! Don't waste any more time on wimpy grocery store meat. Got a meat lover in your life? Buy him or her some Paidom meat and sit back and bask in the adulation which will surely follow. Steak!

Dinner tonight was chicken fried steaks. Alan's steaks, of course. Sooooo good. I think it brings a touch of Texas pride to Robert's heart (OK, a touch MORE Texas pride...) when he hears his kids shouting, "More chicken fried steak, please!". They eat nearly as much of it as we do- for real.

My local yarn store (LYS) is having a sale to make room for new fall yarns. I went this afternoon and bought yarn to make this sweater for Robert and this sweater for the kids (in different colors of course). I also got yarn to make socks for my mom- her requested Hanukkah gift. Yay!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fitting, part 2

Well, the lovely folks over at Ravelry are helping me figure out my sweater fit issuses! I joined a "Bust Line" group in the hopes of learning enough about chest measurments and sweater fit to stop having to frog back and make my sweaters smaller across the chest. Here's what I've learned so far: 1. if you are relatively slender but with kinda big boobs you're often better off knitting a smaller size and using short row shaping to make the bust bigger. and 2. if you measure around the top of your chest (above boobs, under armpits) you can often knit that measurement (termed "negative ease") rather than the "fullest part of the bust" measurment, esp if you have the build mentioned in 1. Cool. Mystery solved!

Dream a little dream

Stress dreams, anyone? Last night I dreamt that I was about to give an academic presentation on the Algonquin (my tribe). Thing is, I know next to nothing about the Algonquin! So I was trying to look in the index of this book to get SOME kind of information only the pages of the index were stuck together and so I couldn't read it at all. In desperation I started to feverishly flip through the main body of the book hoping I'd come across something about the Algonquin. Instead, I found pages and pages of charts and diagrams about dinosaurs. Weird, complicated charts that ran in spirals. I was flipping the book all over and turning my head around trying to keep up in case one of them wasn't about dinosaurs, but about Algonquins. They weren't. A good friend of mine was waiting with me as I was going through all of this.

So what was this dream about? I have two guesses, but I'm pretty un-talented when it comes to dream interpretation, so feel free to tell me what YOU think it means! Here's what I think:
Guess A: I'm feeling anxoius about school starting up again. I didn't teach last semester and I don't have completed syllabuses (oh yes, syllabuses is correct!) for this semester and the semester starts in less than two weeks. Yeah, that could be it.
Guess B: The friend with me (who shall remain nameless) recently told me that she and her husband are trying for baby #3. We've been pregnant together with our first two kids, and I could be feeling a little left behind now. Kids are awesome. We'd like more kids, but really, really can't manage them now. Good thing we have two such awesome kids already! We are so blessed :) And because of that, I really don't feel particularly stressed this morning.

Monday, August 13, 2007 mean TV isn't good for you?

In case anyone missed the news item from a few days ago educational videos for babies and preschoolers actually do the opposite of what they claim. Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby, I'm looking at you. To sum up the article: kids who watch these videos, even for "just" an hour a day, have a 17% DROP in their vocabulary vs kids who do not watch them.

Let's keep in mind that research over the past several years has made a fairly clear and strong conclusions that TV, in virtually any form, is bad for the developing brains of babies and little kids. This article has a good summary of the research, which includes a 2004 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics- this is not fringe or quack science, folks. That study found that for every hour of daily TV (or movies, or educational videos) watched between the ages of 1 and 3 years a child has a 10% higher chance of developing ADHD. 3 hours a day? 30% higher chance. But as with many things, you won't see the effects right away. In this case the attention problems start to show up around age 7, when it's far too late to just turn off the TV and stop the process (for the record, I'm not saying it's too late to help or improve ADHD at this age, just that TV inflicted damage was done years ago. Also, it should go without saying that not all kids who watch a lot of TV will have stunted vocabularies or develope ADHD. But are they risks you want to take?). Again, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended NO TV (yes, NONE) for children under the age of 2 since 1998.

So while last week's news about babies and DVDs shouldn't be surprising, it is still disappointing for a lot of parents. And I can understand why- it'd be great if toddlers could learn and develope their brains while mom and dad get a little break. But thus far there is NO evidence that that is possible, and bundles of it indicating that it's harmful.

Don't upset the pregnant woman

As I've mentioned, my neighbor is pregnant, due with #2 at the end of the month. On Saturday our kids were playing together in the yard and our talk turned to sleep, that holy grail (and fickle mistress) of all parents. She was hoping that the new baby would sleep lots, and soon. She said that Will hadn't been a great sleeper and it had taken him a while to start sleeping through the night. When, she asked, had my kids started sleeping all night?

"Well," I said, "I'm probably the wrong person to ask, because Liel just started sleeping reliably all night when we got back from Pittsburgh 5 weeks ago".

Her eyes widened in horror. "But," I said quickly, trying to make amends, "she slept better than Zion cause he woke up all the time- every hour til he was about 8 months old. Of course, he slept all night starting around a year, but she was only waking up once a night from the time she was like 18 months or so".

Somehow, she didn't seem to find that comforting.

The thing is, when Zion was waking up every hour I was desperate for him to sleep longer. I obsessed over sleep tricks and why every other child on planet earth slept longer stretches than my little boy. I was exhausted. But honestly, once Liel was only waking twice a night (around a year old), her nightwakings ceased to bother me. Since she was never waking up every hour anyway they never bothered me as much as Zion's had (though I won't lie to you, they did kinda suck when they were every few hours when she was 6 months old...), and once a night just wasn't a problem for me. It was even kind of nice to have a little nighttime snuggle.


I don't understand fit!

Last night I got to the point on the Tree Jacket where the sleeves are seperated from the body and the sweater can be tried on. And it was TOO BIG. So I frogged like 3 hours worth of knitting, and made a big, tangley pile of yarn in the process. Given my day yesterday unknotting the yarn from my pulled out sweater would have been more than I could handle. Luckily for me I have a sweet, wonderful husband who patiently untangled and balled my yarn while I went and took a shower. Then I picked up my stitches, knitted a row, re-seperated the sleeves and tried the sweater on again. It seems to fit now, so I went to bed somewhat more relaxed.

This latest fitting fiasco has really got me wondering about something I've been puzzled by for a while now. I don't understand fitting and sizing! I was knitting a size M sweater, to fit a chest size 36-39". I measure 38.5" with a very snug measuring tape, 39" with it a bit looser. And the M was huge, so I'm knitting a S. And I'm not small! And the sweater still won't be tight, as there's still a good deal of ease. Based on the pattern pictures I think it will now fit me the way it fits the model- in other words, the way I assume it is meant to fit. The last sweater I made I was aiming to make my chest size, but my gauge was off and I made a size smaller and it fits just fine, too. So confused.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On the bright side

Sometimes you get just the right phone call at just the right time :) Thanks, Dev! *kisskiss*

BTW, y'all, while my dinner tonight is fairly standard (grilled burgers and corn on the cob), Devon's is going to ROCK. Listen: quinoa, black bean, tomato, cilantro and lime juice salad, broccoli, ribs (marinated in honey, pinapple juice and marmelade), and homemade peach-raspberry pie! If I lived closer than, say, New York to LA, I'd totally be inviting myself over tonight. Her poor, put upon husband won't be getting his favored chocolate desserts tonight, but somehow, I think he'll manage ;)

Uncle Tom Waits

That's how Zion refers to Tom Waits. We think it's because Robert has an Uncle Tom, whom Zion has met (and quite liked) on several occasions, and he hasn't met any other Toms. So in his mind it's probably more like Uncletom Waits.

At any rate, the boy is a big fan, and his favorite Tom Waits song is "Goin' out West". Here he is, singing the first verse himself!

(In case you need a little help understanding Zionese, the lyrics he's singing are:
"Well I'm goin' out West where the wind blows tall,
Cause Tony Francciosa used to date my Ma.
They got some money out there,
They're givin' it away,
I'm gonna do what I want and I'm gonna get paid.
Do what I want and I'm gonna get paid.
I know karate,
Voodoo, too.
I'm gonna make myself available to you."

And yes, I know that he's missing a few lines ;) )

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fruit, and other sweets

It's a gorgeous day today, and I'm looking into local farms that have pick-your-own produce. We're pretty set for veggies, but despite having a fruit share with our CSA we could use more fruit! I'm a particular sucker for berries, and may have found a farm with pick your own blackberries. If that's the case we might need a deep freezer as well (in fact we DO need a deep freezer, but are reluctant to buy one until we buy a house and settle down. Some day.).

Liel and I went for a walk today. She was on back in the mei tai, as usual, and was carrying along a tiny little toy bear. As we walked along she said, "Bear! Flying! Up in air!"

"Oh", I said. "Where is he flying?"

"Flying to Pitts-bough!"

"And what will he do in Pittsburgh?"

"Eat ice kheem!"

As we were having this conversation a guy about my age was walking towards us from the opposite direction. He was carrying a drum (this is Nyack, after all) and seemed highly amused.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I've been making dinner since you were...

We're having a total CSA dinner tonight. Check it out:
Moroccan Chickpea Soup (with onions, tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, saffron, cumin and ginger)
Roasted Carrots and Baby Golden Beets

I'm so excited. You know, more than I usually am for dinner ;)

As I was chopping veggies this evening Zion came in with a golf ball and asked me if I knew how to play golf. I said that I did not.

"I learned how to play golf", he said.


"Oh, before even you came out of your mama's tummy", he replied airily.

Charting Progress

Lately, as I've been knitting, I've had people ask me how long it takes to knit X, or how long I've been working on Y. I don't usually pay a lot of attention to the clock when I'm knitting, but I'm trying to keep track as I knit the Tree Jacket, so here we are!

Here's what I had done after about 2 hours:

And here's what it looks like currently, after about 7 hours:
I'm estimating 30-40 hours on this sweater, and it's a pretty quick knit. The awesome book Women's Work tells me that the words "robe" and "rob" are etymologically related, and you can see why! Making clothes is seriously time consuming, and I didn't sheer the sheep, wash, dye, or spin the wool.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Haul

This week's CSA is in, and we got:
1 head lettuce
6 ears corn
4 lbs onions
3 cucumbers
3 zucchini
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch carrots
3 bell peppers
3 lbs tomatoes
2 pints blueberries


As I was putting everything away Liel spotted the blueberries and asked for some, so I opened up one of the boxes and held it out to her. "Ooooo!" said Liel, as she peered into the box piled high with blueberries. She stared at the box. I stood in the open fridge with vegetables piled all over my kitchen, bent over, holding the box out to her. She stared at the box, finger poised indecisively over the berries. I grew impatient. "C'mon, Liel. Are you going to take some, or just let me hold these all day?"

"Hmmmm.", said Liel, finger still hovering. "Let hold."

Logical Fairies

Here's my little fairy girl, looking cute as can be! My parents bought me these fairy wings from some hippie chick at the Organic Festival at Oak Park in Santa Barbara before I had any kids. Nice to see them getting continued use!

Zion is developing a cool sense of logic. Yesterday he wanted me to make him a hot air balloon so that he could reinact a scene from The Great Corgiville Kidnapping. I made hime one out of a plastic cup and some yarn, but it wasn't very good and the yarn kept sliding off. Robert had the idea to drill holes in the cup and thread the yarn thru there, but checked with Zion first to make sure that he understood that if there were holes drilled in the rim of the cup he wouldn't be able to drink out of it anymore. "Do you understand? Is that OK?" Robert asked. Zion nodded. "Yes, because if there are holes there the water will pour out when I try to drink from the cup".

A few days ago he was talking to my parents on the phone and my dad was telling him about how their cat, Bob, catches gophers, squirrels, rats, and lizards. "Why does he catch them?" Zion wondered.

"Well", my dad said, "he eats them. He eats gophers and squirrels and rats and lizards".

Zion looked puzzled. "Don't you have any cat food?", he asked.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Zion chose today's title :)

Here's a pic of Zion and Liel enjoying the Beatrix Potter box set Kay gave us! They love Beatrix Potter stories, and it's very nice to have so many all in a handy box.

We had thunderstorms this morning, and they woke Liel up waaaay too early. As a result she was super exhausted before her morning nap. The kids were having a snack of prunes and I was reading them stories. Liel asked for more prunes (my kids love them some prunes. It's recently come to my attention that not everyone grew up eating prunes- either plain as a snack or stewed with raisins and other dried fruits and spices for breakfast- and find it weird that kids would eat and like them.), so I brough each child 2 more and said that was all the prunes for the day. Liel looked at the two prunes in her hand, shouted "Nooooooo! Threeeeeeeee!!!" and started wailing and howling and crying. Eventually she was able to pause long enough to stuff one of her prunes into her mouth, whereupon she resumed her anguished cries, muffled only slightly be the partially chewed prune. Luckily for all of us she decided it was time for her nap once the prunes ran out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bags, bags, bags!

Well, really just two bags. Properly felted. There'll be a button on the Squatty Sidekick when it's dry. Don't they totally rule???

Wicked is ahead of the Tree Jacket by one vote. Robert insists that I always ask his opinion and then do the opposite, and I'm sorry to admit this might be another one of those cases. I'll make both sweaters, but at this very second I'm thinking the Tree Jacket might look better in olive green. And then maybe I'd do Wicked in a dark gray...mmmm.


I can't decide what to knit next. I mean, I have a ton of smaller projects, but I'm going to cast on a sweater, and can't choose between the Tree Jacket and Wicked. I have the yarn already (it's yarn I bought for a project I've since decided I will never do- an olive color merino wool, if it makes a difference to you in terms of your vote for which pattern. Oh, didn't I mention that I want you to vote? Well, I do. Use that comments section, people!). Wicked would be the long sleeve version with pocket, in case you were wondering.

I might try to felt both the Squatty Sidekick and the Sea Anemone Messenger Bag today. But we have to go to UPS to mail the child's bike seat that we just sold on ebay, so it might have to wait a day. Luckily we are having leftovers for dinner! Tho I wouldn't say no to making kheer again...that stuff really is the nectar of the g-ds!

Here are the unfelted bags:

For reference, the purse is laying on my laptop (yes, I know you can't see it...).

Monday, August 6, 2007

Muggy Monday

Robert stayed home from the office for my birthday last week, so he went in today even though Monday isn't usually an office day. He biked, so the kids and I have the car! We celebrated by going to the craft store this morning. I exchanged some yarn and replaced it with yarn for a neck warmer for my grandmother, a Bukharan-style kippah for Zion (he insisted he wanted a stripey one like the little boy in the pattern picture), and legwarmers for Liel. Gramma just sent me a bunch of trendy kid's catalogs, and let me tell you, all the little girls are wearing legwarmers this fall! Liel chose a light heathered pink yarn for hers. I might do some stripes or colorwork to jazz it up a bit, we'll see.

Now the kids are napping so I'm working on sewing the tentacles onto Robert's messenger bag.
I finished knitting it last night while Kenn and Giselle were here and we were all watching "Zoolander". It's hilariously huge (as all knit-to-be-felted items are), and when the tentacles are on I'm going to take a picture of Robert with the bag on, and I'll post it then. I'm a little concered about the flap- the pattern called for it to be edged with an addtional row of knit stiches and another bind off, which I did, but now it's curling a bit at the bottom. I can't decide if I should felt it and wait and see what happens or pull out the edging. It looks a lot better on the sides with the edging, however.

I'm also working on the Squatty Sidekick purse. Kenny said, "Are you making that because it has the word "squatty" in the title?" Hmmm... Umm, no.... I mean, who would do a silly thing like that??

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Those pesky laws...

Zion and Robert were playing a game today. I was in another room and heard Zion saying, "And now Tom Kitten has to go to prison!"
"Why does he have to go to prison?" Robert asked. "What law did he break?"
"The brown one!" Zion shouted.

In more legal news, there is finally confirmation of what all New Yorkers I know have long held to be true: the ice cream truck sells drugs. It took us all of about one week to reach this conclusion when we moved to Brooklyn, tho as far as I know this is the first time someone has actually been caught by the police.


Suddenly, in addition to tons of cucumbers, we have tons of basil. Liel and I made a huge batch today, destined for the freezer. It's my own recipe for raw pesto!

raw nuts- I usually use walnuts and pumpkin seeds
expeller pressed oil- I like olive and grapeseed
raw parmesean

Grind it up in the Cuisinart and it's really good!

In knitting news, I started working on my nephew Nathan's hat. I'm doing it in blue and gray because the Dallas Cowboys are his favorite team :) Right now I've only done 6 rows, but I'm hoping to finish it tonight...we'll see.

And finally, a super fly pic of my grandparents-in-law!

Friday, August 3, 2007

More fruits of my labor + independent craftspeople

I just love this picture- Liel helping her daddy out on a hot summer day.

Didn't I do an amazing job on her? But I broke the mold after I made her, she's one of a kind, folks.

More cool one of a kind (or nearly so) goodies can be found at Etsy. You may already be familiar with Etsy, but it's such a fabulous place to buy handmade items of every sort that it still deserves a mention. As with Ebay you'll want to use common sense when buying there, but I've had some lovely items come to me via Etsy, including yesterday's birthday gift from Robert. In our not-so-aesthetic age of big box stores and plastic crap from overseas, it's nice to be able to support small business and independent craftspeople, don't you think? Sure, some of their stuff is crap, too, but...hmm, well, I just try to ignore the crap.

The fruits of my labor

Here are some lovely pictures of the things I produced yesterday!


And the first of my two baby alpaca yarn arm warmers (the other is currently on my needles and about 1/4 done):

The arm warmer ain't very complex knitting, but what pattern there is I made up all by my own self!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Disaster averted

There I was, making my Birthday Pie and talking to my mom. I mixed the sugar and cornstarch with a little salt and cinnamon and tossed the cherries in it. The mixture looked a little grayish. I tasted one of the cherries to see if I needed more sugar and OMG BLECH. BLECH! Awful, awful bitter saltiness. I had no idea what had happened, but dumped the cherries into a colander to rinse them off. Had to rinse them a good while to get rid of all the off salty flavors. As I poured new sugar and cornstarch into the bowl it hit me: I had put baking soda into the mixture instead of cornstarch. They sit on the same shelf, see.

So the moral of the story, kids: taste the food you are cooking! You never know when it might save your Birthday Pie.

Also, a belated welcome to the world to the Wu-ling! I believe he shares the auspicious birthday of one Harry James Potter. We can't wait to meet him in person!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I am grumpy, hear me sulk!

Today was not. my. knitting. day. After I frogged the Saartje booties I started another project. After two hours I had to frog that, too. It's a semi-complicated eyelet pattern, and a mistake I made in row 3 made it all suck. And now I'm feeling grumpy and can't seem to quite shake it off. Grumble. Grumble. *kicks at imaginary curb*

Maybe I'll go wash my hair and think Scarlett O'Hara-ish thoughts: "Tomorrow is another day! With pie!" (OK, I added the pie bit in myself.)

While I think of it, allow me to quickly expound on the joy and importance of making your own pie crust. People, it is easy. And so delicious! And everyone will be impressed and there will be much squealage over how amazing and talented you are. No store bought pre-packaged crust can ever compare! Never. So don't buy them (or, G-d forbid, use them), just don't. Instead, here's my very own recipe for you to use! It's all approximate, it'll work out. I'm a firm believer in the Como Agua para Chocolate school of cooking: all you need is love.

2 cups flour
big spoon of sugar
small amount of salt
2-3 big spoons of coconut oil
6-7 tablespoons of unsalted butter.

Mix the flour and the sugar and the salt together. I use my hands for everything in this recipe except measuring the flour and fats and rolling the dough. Mix in the fats until you have a kind of coarse meal looking mixture. It's fine to have some big bits of un-mixed in fat, it doesn't have to be uniform. Small bits of fat make the crust tender and the big bits create air pockets as they melt, making the crust flakey. Then add water, a bit at a time (I mix with one hand an pour with the other) until you have a nice ball of dough. It shouldn't be too sticky, just enough to hold together. I usually stick it in the fridge while I make the filling, and then roll it out. Brush the top crust with a little water and sprinkle with sugar.

Actually, I do feel better now! Pie IS the wonder drug we've all been waiting for! And it was right here all along.


So, as you may recall, I have yarn for the legwarmers that i'm now not going to make. What to do with it? It's the perfect weight for the Saartje baby booties but I have waaaay to much of it. I plan to make at least 3 pairs of these booties, but I have enough of this yarn to make 30. I cast on for them today using the gray yarn (I have 2 balls of gray and one of a burnt red color), but now i'm thinking i'd rather use the red. Woohoo, more frogging!

Damn. Well, I just did it, no going back now.

In other news, I bought cherries today for my Birthday Pie. Yum. I will have to make the pie tomorrow morning. If I make it today, I will want to eat it today. But if I make it tomorrow morning it will have time to get nice and cold before I eat it. I love cold pie. So much better than warm pie. Straight out of the fridge is the best...