Saturday, August 30, 2014

Vacation: New Hampshire

I'm working backwards in time now. We were in NH for the last of July and early August. The weather was delightfully cool and we only got rained on twice. We had two separate visits from grad-school-era friends and their kids got along decently with our kids, which is always a nice bonus.

We don't eat out much when we're in NH. Part of this is just geography: it's a middling to long drive to anything really good. Part of this is family: we're here to see the uncles and aunts and cousins, even if it means eating burgers or lousy pasta for dinner. And part of this is my FIL, who's an insanely creative and excellent cook. When he and MIL are hosting a meal, we're always there.

We did manage to visit two outlet malls: Settler's Green in North Conway and Tanger Outlets in Tilton. Both are really good for children's clothing, and Tilton also has the lovely Thai House so that was like a double-win.

So where did we eat, when ate out? We trekked across the state to get great Asian food at East of Suez, which makes good lumpia and an amazing Taiwanese salt-and-pepper-chicken. We went to The Corner House Inn (an old family tradition) and also to Chequers Villa while we were visiting the uncle who lives in Tamworth. The former makes great seafood, salads, and burgers. The latter makes good jalapeƱo poppers and pizza, but stay away from the pasta unless you're completely unfussy. We missed going to Lago, which used to be a tradition but has fallen by the wayside this year. The view of Lake Winnipesauke is unbeatable, and the food's pretty darn good, too.

I also hit the sale at Patternworks, the lovely little yarn shop in Center Harbor. The yarn was pretty well picked over by the time I got there but I did score some 16-inch circular needles by Clover at a good price.

And that's really it. Lots of time in the water. Lots of time looking at mountains. Catching up with friends. Catching up with family. A delightful paucity of mosquitoes.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Vacation: Nantucket

Yes, yes, I know I promised The Blog a recap of our week in London, and I haven't gotten to it yet. I blame it on the difficulty of transferring pictures off my very ancient phone. Since making that promise, I (we) have gone to New Hampshire for one family reunion and then to Nantucket for a different branch of the family's reunion.

Today we talk about Nantucket. Everyone from my mom's immediate family showed up for at least 4 days. We all stayed in Madaket in various rental houses, which permitted us some privacy while still allowing us to run back and forth to different houses all day. This proved useful for the people who don't do much in the kitchen, in that they could drop by and bum food from those of us who do like to cook and bake.

We ate out more than usual. I no longer remember the exact sequence of days and times, but I know that we

1) had dinner at Black-Eyed Susan's, which was yummy except that the pork curry was so hot it made me cry, but so tasty that I couldn't stop eating it. The tuna tartare appetizer was lovely, and the cod entree was exceptional. If you go, be aware that they only accept cash and the prices run in excess of $30 per entree. On a happier note, the corkage fee is only $2 per bottle.

2) got smoothies twice at Nantucket Ice Cream and "Juice Guys". I got a Nantucket Red (excellent) and a Pink Cloud (almost nearly as excellent) and highly recommend them for excellent product and service. They're a little off the beaten path; you have to go most of the way out on the wharf for the Hy-Line Ferry and look to the left.

3) had lunch at Millie's of Madaket. It took us a while to get a table but the wait was absolutely worth it! The oyster po'boy was luscious and their rice side salad is truly stunning. My cousin said his shrimp taco was terrific and my aunt loved her quesadilla but I can't remember which one she got. Scallops, maybe? So really, only mom's redfish po'boy was less than exceptional. As with most Nantucket eateries, prices run about 50% higher than I'm used to seeing here in inland New England.

4) had dinner at The Rose and Crown. The poutine was disappointing but my Mixed Salad (mixed greens, dried cranberries, toasted goat cheese, almonds, carrots, and radishes in a cider vinaigrette ) was fantastic, and a very good price. I don't remember what everyone else got, but they all seemed to enjoy their food.

5) had two meals at Brotherhood of Thieves. I got the crab cake burger with sweet potatoes fries and it was fantastic both times. The rest of my extended family had beef burgers and seemed to enjoy them.

6) got ice cream The Juice Bar. I thought the ice cream was good but not so fantastic as to warrant standing in line for nearly an hour. My cousins, however, disagree with me and went in most evenings to brave the line and the mosquitoes.

7) got donuts at Downyflake. I didn't go myself - this was at the tail end of an unsuccessful morning crabbing expedition - but the guys were kind enough to bring me back a donut.

I also made time for exquisite yarn store next door to Downyflake. This is Flock, a small but well-curated shop that seems to specialize in Madelinetosh. I went in hoping to find self-striping sock yarn. The collection of Regia was tiny and did not match what I wanted, but I allowed myself to be seduced by two skeins of Tosh Sock. (Pictures to follow when I unpack enough to actually locate said yarn.)

So overall, a very nice visit! Next year I hope to schedule a nature tour, and maybe get into Black-Eyed Susan's for breakfast.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another FO: fingerless mitts!

Finally put another project to bed!

I'm currently in my last week of "real" vacation before the upcoming school year starts to intrude. I had promised myself that I would either frog or finish a few projects over the summer. Thus far, I've deemed one pair of socks to be irredeemable, and finished one pair of fingerless mitts.

The details: my Ravelry page
Yarn: ColorWul by Patons, in "Bramble"
Needles: Size 8, wooden (I used the 2-circulars method; each was 16 inches)
Pattern: a greatly modified version of the Perdita X Mitts. Each mitten is 40 rows long and 32 stitches around. I ran out of yarn a little early so the thumbs aren't as fully developed as I'd like. Next time I do this, I will probably shoot for only 37 or 38 rows.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Evidence of life

Wow! Didn't mean to miss an entire month there. I still have to blog about our trip to London back in June, and more recently I've actually knit some stuff. But today is filled with the misery that comes from having a small dog barf on your bed at 4:30AM and a mostly unsuccessful attempt to finish sleeping on the sofa (with him, of course).

I will try to catch up more, soon.

Shown below: a pair of baby socks I just finished, from Kate Atherley's free pattern. Used Patton's Kroy sock yarn and size 1 needles.

Friday, June 20, 2014

In the moment...

Eating / Toasted home-made oatmeal bread with hazelnut butter (that DH bought at the Farmer's Market)
Drinking / Home-steeped chai (ditto on the Farmer's Market)
Practicing / Pie crusts. Mine are inconsistent: sometimes great, but sometimes tough and lopsided. 
Mastering / healthy cooking that the whole family will eat
Learning / How to light our new grill 
Trying / not to do everything at 100%; giving myself permission to half-ass a few things
Playing / lots of Winter Olympics that's taking up too much space on the TiVo
Finishing / Four pairs of mittens that were supposed to be delivered last month, all of them different patterns from Selbuvotter
Reading / When Will There be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
Remembering /Our trip to London (see next blog post)
Wearing / comfy long shorts, an oversized T-shirt, and sneakers.
Cooking / Everything on the grill. Mushrooms, chicken marinated in spiced yogurt, potatoes...
Working / on the answer keys to all the placement tests, which would be coming back to me any day now
Traveling / To a bunch of farmer's markets, but no major trips until August
Wanting / More sleep! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things I did last weekend

1) Had a terrific lunch at Great Wall in Florence, MA. They look like a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant, but the gourmet menu is just marvelous and tastes like home cooking.

2) Got bubble tea at Lime Red Tea House. My favorite is the grapefruit with green tea and "boba".

3) Cooked Malaysian Radish Cake with bean sprouts.

4) Also cooked Stir-fried Pork with Basil and a Fried Egg. 

5) Nearly set myself on fire trying to light our new grill (a Traeger wood pellet, in case you're wondering. Poorly designed. Don't get one.)

6) Scared all the neighbors with my yelling when I nearly caught on fire. That was awkward.

7) Discovered a new blog I love: My Name is Yeh

8) Had a bunch of students over for dinner.

9) Went to Commencement and said goodbye to my seniors.

10) WON THE TEACHING AWARD!!! (I'm still in shock, and so happy.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things I wish I knew more about

I wish I knew more about...

1) Geography. (I have a terrible sense of spatial orientation and while I'm good at memorizing routes, so I don't usually get lost, I have no idea how our local roads link our local towns together. And forget anything on a larger scale!)

2) Economics.

3) Biology.

4) Psychology.

5) Probability.

6) Game Theory. (sounds so cool, makes so little sense to me)

7) Native American culture.

8) Religions other than Christianity.

9) Making candy.

10) Making cheese.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Big Reveal

And here are the answers as to which were true and which were false:

1) I love to bake and will make cookies and bread at least once a week. TRUE
2) I have degrees in English, Math, and Physics. TRUE
3) I'm allergic to every major species of tree in New England. FALSE (I'm allergic to everything except the maple)
4) This time in CT (8 years) is the longest I've ever lived in one town. TRUE
5) I adore horror movies. FALSE (mostly hate them, although I have a sneaking fondness for the original Scream)
6) I'm a morning person. MOSTLY FALSE (I prefer evenings, but I've seen people who truly Are Not Morning People and I do better than they do.)
7) I'm terrified of fires, and will not grill anything except under duress. FALSE (I love fires in a fireplace, fires in a wood stove, and fires in a grill)
8) I wish we could keep chickens, but we live in a part of town that isn't zoned for them. TRUE
9) My favorite sports are basketball and soccer. FALSE (that would be volleyball, tennis, and baseball)
10) I used to ride horses and compete in dressage when I was a little kid. TRUE (my parents forced me to quit when we moved away from NY because the nearest riding stable was too far away)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

According to our beloved taskmistress, this week's topics is "10 things that might or might not be true about you."

1) I love to bake and will make cookies and bread at least once a week.
2) I have degrees in English, Math, and Physics.
3) I'm allergic to every major species of tree in New England.
4) This time in CT (8 years) is the longest I've ever lived in one town.
5) I adore horror movies.
6) I'm a morning person.
7) I'm terrified of fires, and will not grill anything except under duress.
8) I wish we could keep chickens, but we live in a part of town that isn't zoned for them.
9) My favorite sports are basketball and soccer.
10) I used to ride horses and compete in dressage when I was a little kid.

So there! Five true, five false. Which do you think is which?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ten on Tuesday: last 10 books you read

1) Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. SF space opera. The narrator is sympathetic but mysterious, the scale is both vast and intimate, and the author has completely nailed the "sense of wonder" that I want from my SF novels. This is short-listed for the Tiptree, Clarke, and Nebula Awards. Highly recommended!

2) Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, a reread for me. Interesting ideas, but the book hasn't aged well as several of the major concepts have more recently been criticized or debunked.

3) Revived by Cat Patrick. YA suspense/horror. A very engaging read, although further reflection made me realize the less realistic points of the plot. Recommended if you like YA suspense.

4) The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, a reread. Ditto what I said about Outliers.

5) Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Memoir/graphic novel. This is an amazing book, both in the artwork and in the way the story unfolds. Highly recommended!

6) Living Witness by Jane Haddam. Contemporary mystery. One of my favorites in the long-running series about detective Gregor Demarkian. Recommended.

7) How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. Contemporary mystery. The series-ender to Penny's series about the Quebec Police Force. A terrific book but you really need to have read the rest of the series for this one to make sense. Recommended.

8) Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. YA SF. A good entry point to their long-running Liaden series. I enjoyed the book but found it a little "preachy".

9) Thrones, Dominations by Dorothy Sayer and Jill Paton Walsh. Mystery set during WWII in Britain. The authorized continuation of Sayer's series about Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey. Very enjoyable; highly recommended!

10) The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord. Utopian SF/romance. Also short-listed for the Nebula Award. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ten on Tuesday: 10 thoughts about the Olympics

1) I love the Olympics. I put aside all cynicism and revel in 17 days of unabashed national pride.

2) I watch everything I can and try to Tivo everything else.

3) I'm so glad that snowmobile X and snowmobile freestyle haven't made it to the Olympics yet.

4) I don't really understand moguls as a sport, but I appreciate the athleticism it takes to excel in it.

5) Short-track speed skating is nuts.

6) So is skeleton.

7) And so is halfpipe skiing.

8) I should be knitting but I'm too tired, and I'm usually trying to work in front of the TV.

9) I love having a little TV in the kitchen. I've gotten a lot of baking done with the Olympics on in the background.

10) The little dog loves the Olympics because I'm spending more time than usual on the sofa, so he gets more snuggling.