Thursday, May 30, 2013

Death Comes to Pemberly: Meh.

image from

I was looking forward to revisiting the characters of Pemberly and the allusions to the original novel. The book wasn't bad, but perhaps carrying all that expectation, just wasn't realistic on my part. Here are some of my issues that are in no way logical:
  • I could see it coming; the "what really happened" part. It was just a matter of a few details.
  • I felt like parts were obvious or redundant. Sometimes the allusions to the book were too detailed. Really, is there anybody reading this that didn't read the original? I felt like things that were mentioned in conversation, were mentioned again.
  • This was really a Darcy show and Mrs. Darcy aka Lizzie was just a housewife ...
  • All suspicious activity was ... too suspicious, in the sense that I felt like the book was highlighted for my attention. 
  • I felt things like the trial were trying. I just couldn't get behind it. 
  • Supporting characters: I didn't like anyone besides the housekeeper.
I really wanted to love this book. I really enjoy most of Jane Austen's books, but Pride & Prejudice remains my favorite. Sometimes when I reread Jane Austen, I remind myself, ahh, it's different than the movie ... thing. (This is especially the case with Persuasion where Ann Elliott is a little more simpering than on screen.) However with P&P (Colin Firth mini-serires version), I'm OK. The spirit of the characters remain the same and I am in love with their little social circle and crazy family dysfunction.

I think my problem is, I didn't fully appreciate it as a mystery. Which were my main expectations. Maybe if I had gone in thinking of it more of a sequel?

Not bad, not bad, but meh.

Ellen's recommendation: Meh. I'd tell you to read it if you like Jane Austen and so I could compare your experience to mine. Otherwise, decide if you want period piece or mystery, but this is not a case of chocolate and peanut butter if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

See's Candy: Nuts & Chews Edition

Today at morning drop-off The Kid's teacher asked me to come by the class after line-up. When I made my way to the classroom after the hallway "rush hour", Mr. S. presented me with a lovely box of chocolates and a card for being one of their room parents this year (Lady A and I always co-room parent whenever we get a class together).

He also used the moment to remind the class, it's important to thank people, which is a little embarrassing, but as a parent, greatly appreciated.

I was jazzed about the card. I truly love the sprawling cursive of elementary students.

I was also jazzed to share the chocolate. HM is a huge fan of the Nuts & Chews box, I was going to regift to her, but she decided I should hold on to it and dole them out to her as needed.

My "sins" are usually committed in salty and crunchy. but, watching my friend tuck in, I had to have one too. And what a lovely dark chocolate, caramel, marshmallowy treat it was!

*Photo issues lately: 1) Need to remove borders, but can't remember how. 2)GUI alignment is not working. 3) The lighting looks better on my phone, even if it's just a phone photo. very interesting. no time to play.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Weekend What: 3 Day Edition

Ah a long weekend. When you don't get away, it's an opportunity to catch up on things to do or rest. If you're lucky enough, you get a little of both.

Weekend's progress:
  • Spent some time with my father and my sister and her family. Everyone loves a BBQ!
  • Spent a date night with Manfriend. Early drinks/dinner and movie on the couch. Early bedtime so life was not rushed the next day. No chores, the house was a mess, but meh. I am really allergic to house cleaning these days. I mean SEVERELY. The only thing I want to tidy are my knitting projects and The kid's dresser drawers. Everything else is overwhelming me, again.
  • Continued to inventory and level classroom libraries, both on Saturday and Monday (where my schedule and the teachers' permitted) at the school. Working on writing up a simple process, so other volunteers are comfortable doing it on their available time.
  • Got cracking on that Baby Sophisticate Cardigan. So funny how hard it was to find time to knit over this weekend. I'm halfway through one sleeve on that cardigan, and that leaves, 1.5 sleeves and the collar. My goal is to have it done Thursday so I can spend Friday evening baking for the end of season soccer BBQ and baby shower on Saturday. Big plans people. I also want to have a semi-decent photo of the sweater for prosperity.
  • Almost finished Death Comes to Pemberly. I'm going to finish Death Comes to Pemberly by Sunday before death comes to me. I'm ready for the new. I wasn't in love with this book. As much as I love the characters from Pride and Prejudice, this just hasn't done it for me. I will explain in greater detail later, since I know my sister will ask me why. (Though she is more of a thriller/suspense than mystery person. And yes, I believe these are different genres.)
A long weekend is a prelude to a short work week, which is also the last week of school. I have a lot of hopes and dreams for the week, both personally and professionally. Here's to a productive week.

*You know, really all I care about is the knitting right? ;)

Friday Awesome

*I thought I posted this on Friday. I see I was wrong.

It's Friday. That in itself is awesome. It's the Friday before a long weekend ... hello, awesome! So here's a quick list of what's awesome at the moment.

1. La Palma, the Mexicatessin. I kid you not. The Manfriend said on the phone, he was picking up from the Mexicatessin and I thought he was being a smart-ass. But there it was, rice, beans, salsa, warm tortillas (with Mexicatessin on the bag) all affordable to bring home. Thursdays after swim we often hang out with another family and have dinner together. Sometimes our household runs out of ideas. La Palma just made Taco Bar night that much easier.

2. Boden USA, I'm trying to refresh my wardrobe slowly, but be true to my casual t-shirt-esque style. and Boden has really helped me upgrade a bit. I loathe spending money on t-shirts, because I am the stain queen. Hmm, maybe princess, since my mother beats me. NEVER let that woman wear a white shirt to dim sum. never... Anyhow, Boden and Garnet Hill have helped me find things I feel comfortable in at work, at basic social gatherings, with acquaintances and close friends. Most of the items are washable and can be parlayed into a decent outfit for dinner. I have to try and veer away from the younger stuff, and let go of the old stuff.

3. Starbucks reusable plastic cups. So this is old news apparently, but I'm okay being behind the times. This is my "normal". I have one in the cube at work. I have one at home, they often rotate in and out. I often stick my own coffee in there in the morning on the way to school drop off. They have holes at the top, so they aren't leak proof etc. I have a thermos one for that. However, with travel mugs I often have a hard time keeping clean. I drink milk in my coffee and hate the feeling I can't get old cream coffee out of the nooks and crannies of a drinking container. Please do not validate my husband in saying I should just drink it black ;) Anyhow, these are my personal compromise.

4. Spontaneous Knit. Wendy Knits is doing a summer mystery shawl KAL. Ahem Kathy B., I think you should consider this :) Anyhow, I'm notorious for flaking on KALs. So lately, I follow from the sidelines, cheering everyone else on. But then I saw Wendy's AWESOME graphic. Please go visit to admire. And now, I'm throwing another shawl on the June To Do! Wish me luck, as my current shawl is confounding me.

I hope it's an awesome Friday for everyone, and the weekend brings you lots of laughs and relaxation with your favorite people and things. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Angry Knitting

You know, I have been knitting. It's just been ... challenging.

I have two things on the needles right now, and they both are not going according to plan.

1) Encyclopaedie - I managed to finish the edging and switch colors twice. I am now trying to start the contrast lace section. However, I'm confused. Let me be clear, it is not the pattern, it is me. Essentially a center stitch -- now marked with one marker has been created. Now, the pattern says something like this: Row 1 knit stuff, yo, knit stuff [knit something = 4 sts]  to work up until 4 stitches before marker. Then it shows some more pattern (this part looks similar to the first part with a ssk, K2 last 4 stitches), which I assume is for the second half. I am not sure, what to do with those last 4 stitches in the first half?

So I just repeated the stuff in the brackets. However I ask myself, why would the designer tell me to knit to up to the last 4 if they didn't have a reason. Long story short, I figured ... keep truckin', um I mean knitting. My numbers didn't work out in the end, so guess I have to tink back and recount, and reassess.

Really, all I want to do is knit this ... fatherless shawl...

For the record, I have actually enjoyed it up until my comprehension / competency issues.

2) Baby Sophisticate - I was back patting myself for casting on this sucker before the Memorial Day Weekend. "Getting a jump" and all, avoiding my usual "adrenaline junkie" mode. (HM would argue, 2 weeks out from a baby shower is hardly getting a jump. But she can take a cold plate of my motherly side eye and taste it! I live on the PTA Mom edge, damnit!) I even had to rip it back, because at the end of my stomach sick knitting, I realized I had some wonky stitch count. I finished the yoke last night! Well, now, I'm looking at some inconsistent slipped edges on one side. (Too much t.v. I suppose) I also have TWO extra stitches which I must figure out "where and how" I did that. So much of me is ready to frog this thing and start over again.

Really, all I want to do is knit this ... precious, cute old man looking cardigan.

For the record, I have actually knit this before. I know, it makes me both angrier and more pathetic all in one. mmm. Tasty ;)

So my knitting is just stalled. (Insert sailor words here.) This really pisses me off. I day dream about knitting in line for coffee. I ramble on about my projects with Little Snoopy at morning drop off at school. I eyeball my co-workers knit hats and try to think ... can I do that, how do I do that? And look, I get my chance and I jack it up. I shouldn't say jack. I know a lot of thoroughly put together Jacks, it's really a shame to turn them into a pejorative right? Sorry I digress.

But now, the knitting makes me angry.

So I did some yoga at lunch (in a class, not in my cube, that would be really odd, wouldn't it?) and guess what? Still no upper body strength AND the knitting probably won't benefit from the sore arms.

Stop, read through your patterns. Stop, count those stitches. Don't wait till the last minute. Learn from me. Don't knit angry ... Knit strong. Knit happy.

ps: no pictures of angry knitting because you know what angry knitting looks like after you find all the errors? Tangled. Blech!

My Mom Thoughts

I went back to work when The Kid was 3 months old. I had not been working as a full time employee long enough at that point to be guaranteed a job when I returned (I was on contract before hand), but they were kind enough to hold a spot for me. Anyhow, we were fortunate enough that my husband gave up his lunch shifts and I worked during the day, and he worked the dinner shifts and we sort of tag teamed and overlapped on the weekends.

Life was pretty good. I accepted for the benefit (and health benefits) of all I needed to work. (We also couldn't have afforded not to back then.)

The Manfriend gently explained to me, for the good of the household (and my mental health) it was probably best that I kept working, I was younger then, and much worse at keeping still (couldn't knit, really, not for the lack of Kaps trying to teach me.)

I never regretted it. For just shy of 10 years, it seemed worth it, it made sense. I could keep doubt at bay at least.

My personal feelings towards what is supposed to be a career? or even a job are more tied to my identity than I meant for it to be, or want it to be. Maybe the same thing goes for being a Mom. I'm not sure what else I am without these two descriptors some times.

I constantly question my value in both adjectives.

But again, for the most part I have not had regret.

Then there are days like these, when I miss things. When I realize I am preparing myself to miss things as he gets older and there are less opportunities to be on-site at school and less chance they even want you there. *sigh.

At the end of every school year my son's elementary school does a U.N. event. Each class takes on a country, and for two days they "travel the world" learning about different places, and get a little sample food treat and/or do some sort of relevant craft or puzzle. They get a "passport" with their class picture on it, and they get a stamp for each country they visit. It is The Kid's favorite school function.

Then the following week, they participate as their U.N. class in the "Jr. Olympics". Day 1 includes opening ceremonies. Each grade has a different bit. This year it's the Ring Ceremony for the 4th graders.

This is the first year that I've missed.

He got up this morning, and I OK'd wearing track pants to school, since The Kid's event was, The Long Run. He wore a matching black sweater hoodie (that is getting too small) to match his Black Ring (hula hoop) for the opening ceremony.

I asked Little Snoops if she'd take an iPhone picture for me if she had the chance, since I was feeling all woe is me, working Mom is gonna miss yet another event this year. (*This is due to a project at work, and so it is not like this all the time).

To be clear in the workforce or home, it is all work. You'll find no judgement from me. I will judge you if you think your kid has special rights in public. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Good things on sick days

I didn't sleep so well Monday night.

I woke up feeling not right.


I slept on the couch during the day. (I never realized how noisy it is in my neighborhood during the day. Oh because I'm usually at work, or not trying to sleep eh?)

I couldn't knit all morning.

But thankfully, my BFF t.v. took good care of me:

my frightfully bad photo of : knitting daily on pbs :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend Recap: That was quick.

I managed to do a little of nothing on Friday. There was a glass of wine involved with some knitting while watching mysteries on KQED +. Lately I am a fan of "Death in Paradise", not to be confused with a reenactment show called "Murder in Paradise", which is based on real life escandalo ... murders, much sensationalized, but still so tragic. ugh.

Saturday I tried really hard to do some chores between making second and third breakfasts for my son. There was some sweeping, tidying and WC cleaning, but really, just basic stuff which didn't make me feel very productive when we left for soccer.

The Kid's team had their last match of the spring season and it ended in a hard fought draw. 1-1. After that match, we went to another one. Half of the team plays on a travel team as well. It is more competitive than our team/league. We went to support our friends and see them play. That was fun but sooo cold! We were in the warm Mission earlier in the afternoon and then closer to the fog in Daly City at 5pm. The wind was whipping out there! Skinny boy curled up like a pill bug in his track jacket to cover his knobby knees.

When the soccer momming was done, we went home and tidied again, ate some dinner and packed for an early morning flight. The boys were flying out to Arizona to visit the Great Grandparents and my husband's eldest brother's family. Just a quick trip. They left the house shortly after 5 on Sunday morning.

They didn't need a ride, they were going to park the car at the airport. Still, I had to get up and fuss. "Do you have book? some gum? your inhalor? Don't forget to drink lots of water ... etc. etc., here take a bun with you in case you are hungry and everything is closed, or you don't have time..."

I eventually fell back asleep, and then woke up again in time to watch the last matches of the British Premiere League with some coffee.

And then, I ate some leftovers.

And then I went to Zumba.

And for 60 minutes, I wasn't sure if I was going to puke.

After a shower and some ginger ale, I pulled myself together to meet Mrs. B who was coming to help me work on the classroom library project at school. We were unable to finish the room, which sort of disappointed me, but not for the lack of trying, it's just a lot of books! (I can't imagine what it will be like when we get to the younger grades with more books per shelf space)

Mrs. B was kind enough (as always) to drop me at home and as much as I just wanted to "butt on couch." there were things that needed to be chipped away at. So 2 loads of laundry and a fridge shelf cleared and washed, I put my butt on the couch and shh, ate dinner there. I know! on the couch! CRAZY!

No I did not spill anything. But don't rat me out!

Of course, I didn't make it to the grocery store, but that's okay. I wanted to make some fish for the boys tonight, and if I think about it, I prefer not to purchase fish on Sundays. Anyhow, that meant today I had to run to the market after work at 5:30 and shop like a crazy mom, and rush home and cook.

They were home before dinner was on the table. Typical! But they are home and they are happy and fed.

Remember, not a word about eating on the couch, and I'll tell you another secret. As much as I adore them, I really think we all wouldn't have been so rushed if they were gone for another day & night. ;)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Coffee Confessions

From Martha
I buy Girl Scout cookies every year from my friends' daughters. I buy some for the office and some for home. I also buy 2 boxes of thin mints that I break in case of bad day emergencies. I squirrel them in a filing cabinet in my cube. I think I may tear through my supply this year by the end of June.

Sometimes I go to bed "early" just to sit in bed and knit ... until late o'clock. This means my poor husband falls alseep with the light on.

I don't finish all the books I read.

I think I like chocolate milk more than chocolate ice cream, but chocolate pudding is better than both.

I often think I want pancakes, but it's only because I really want maple syrup. Maple syrup and bacon and maybe some pancakes. This combination grosses out The Kid. When he sees me dragging a piece of bacon through a swamp of maple syrup,  I hang my head in shame like golden retriever caught chewing a slipper.

I think Grade B Maple Syrup is the Cinderella of Syrupville. Leave her alone! She tastes just fine! Let the syrup elitists come for me!

I donated a large supply of Red Heart Yarn from my beginner knitting days to the Goodwill. I don't have anything against acrylic yarn, they make items easy to care for which is important for old people and small people, but I still have too much yarn and I want to focus on yarn I know I will use. It does make me feel guilty, because I haven't knit or crocheted a throw for the elderly in a long time.

Often when I take the stairs, I look longingly at the escalator.

I think discipline is for "other people" (not myself).

I think gray tabby cats are the best kind and I'm scared of all white cats (meaning no other colors on them, the ones look like calico cows are just fine) because my grandmother's in Thailand beat me up when I was 6.

I still have never knit a pair of socks, but I have sock yarn.

I have a fear that my teeth are going to fall out. And I have a fear of the dentist. This is not a healthy combination. This fear has come and gone through the years, it's coming right now.

Speaking of fears. Sometimes when I lay awake because I am nervous or have anxiety. I hold my husband's hand in his sleep to comfort myself. Sometimes I stand in my son's open door way to focus on what's good and what is right.

I prefer Coq au Vin made with white wine than red. Good thing The Manfriend makes it so well!

Things always return to food for me. Food may be comfort, but it is not love as Mlouis says, and I must remember to share  both comfort and love.

ps: I hope you had a wonderful Sunday. Mother or not.

Friday, May 10, 2013

AQ: A dinner date

The Kids 4th grade class announced an end of the year camping trip earlier this spring.

As soon as the dates were set, I went about making reservations. I decided we would go "occasion" style dining. Something special, slightly fancier and adventurous than our usual bistro-faire (which is my favorite).

I wanted to go someplace the Manfriend had not yet been. (He doesn't get out as much as me.)

We managed a reservation at AQ and it was dreamy...

ARTICHOKES in the GARDEN, warm pancetta, green olives, raw & roasted roots

SUNFLOWER SEEDS, duck rillette, apricot & lemon thyme, with burnt toast

EARLY SPRING ASPARAGUS, “risotto” of faro verde, sake lees & hazelnuts

SPRING LAMB TARTARE, fava beans, avocado leaf, smoked feta & cress

HALIBUT, sorrel & crème fraiche, celeriac, new potatoes & bottarga

SOFT SHELL CRAB, coastal seaweeds & ramps, cucumber, “cacio e pepe”

BUTTERMILK, lemon verbena, green strawberry, poppyseed
later in the evening a "quick" flash was required.

As you can see, we went big. We ordered thoroughly over the top and that was fun. We loved the artichokes and I could eat that asparagus "risotto" every day.  My halibut was perfectly cooked. The soft shell crab was a little salty, but not as to stop the enjoyment of eating it. The weakest point was the dessert, but I'm not a huge dessert person anyways, and I loved how the presentation reminded me of a terrarium. Presentation was lovely, I could not help but be "that" girl in the restaurant, snapping iPhone photos.

The service as I remembered with HM, was absolutely lovely. One of the servers recognized The Manfriend from his restaurant and recommended a really lovely Chenin Blanc for our meal. So nice of him to come by and say hello (I always worry, they are going to tell us they had a horrible time there, ha! I can't handle rejection!) . The entire staff we interacted with was so lovely and kind.

Since the restaurant is close enough, to ease our digestion, we walked home, hand in hand. A dreamy dinner date, indeed.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weekend Recap: A sense of completion ... oh ... yeah.

It took me a while to get this out .. I blame blogger mobile app and photos issues ...

I cast-off my Monster Blanket! I can't believe it. By the time, the credits rolled for Game of Thrones episode 6, I was finito. Yay! Naturally I still have a bunch of ends to weave-in, blahbittyblahblahblah. But so what! I've decided I'm going to trim the existing tails and save the actual weave-in for another day, probably when the boys are in Arizona, and I can have a small mound of wool surround me in the living room and/or bedroom and not have to move it, for anyone. Well, at least until I go to bed ;)


Onward! I also accidentally finished Beautiful Ruins. I picked it up on Friday, meaning to read "just another chapter" but realized Saturday at 5pm ... I was going to have to finish it. I was done by 11pm. I didn't mean to. It just happened that way. I thought the story was well written and the author handled going between two different times really well, unlike A Visit From The Goon Squad, which took me a long time to get used to, if I ever did. The author also managed to mesh the supporting characters stories so nicely. I loved the descriptions, the heart break, the letting go. It is a story about What ifs and almosts and love of course. It is about contemporary Hollywood business, the birth of movie star scandals, personal dreams, and stunted ambition.

Friday and Saturday evening with the warm weather we are having the family was attacked by rogue mosquitoes. Possibly one. Possibly one very family blood chubby, rogue mosquito. Friday he feasted on the menfolk. The little one whimpered in his sleep and climbed into bed when his father left for work on Sat. around 6am. This is after an evening of Manfriend jumping up after hearing the buzzing and flipping on the light. Boxers and a flyswatter in flash bright light. By Saturday, I was feeling the effects of this new fangled torture technique. I finished my book. I was exhausted. I was vaguely falling asleep to the t.v. when I heard it  ... buzzing around my head. Then I heard it! Then I was itchy. Then my eye was swollen. Oh and I had to get up at 5 something because my sister was coming for me at 6am because we were doing the Diva 5K.

My sister picks me and my swollen eye up on time. It's a good start, even though I forgot my long sleever, and my mini Purell. Mini Purell's are really important if you happen to use the porta potty.

That's ok, we were just going to walk it. My sister's bum knee is bum. And we don't want to make it worse. The Diva 5K was SO fun.

  1. I did it with my sister, who when I am not bossing her around, is really quite a great gal. We're both totally nutter in different ways. Our parents definitely got the variety pack when they had us. 
  2.  It was easy. This run actually has 2 events, a 5K and a half marathon, it's in a pretty part of Burlingame along the water. It's really a flat course. The 5K was cake. Again we only jogged for a mile and walked the rest, but it was a good time, which makes any exercise you do better!
  3.  Energy. The energy is greatly supportive, festive and female. Teams of women dress in tutus and ribbons and matching running gear. They clap for each other when they are rounding and passing each other. Their menfolk and families gather along the side with signs and carry packs and cameras. (Seriously, who are these dudes, they should hold seminars!) Before you cross the finish line, you pick up a boa and a tiara. When you cross the finish line, you can pick up your medal from shirtless "model" men in fireman pants, and take a picture -- it was backing up the line, and I'm impatient, so this didn't happen, but our mother would've loved a photo. Maybe next year. As you exit the finish area, they offer you bagels, bananas, sparkling wine / gingerale (too early even for me!) Fun times. Only con? The hours when you have to pick up your bib. Friday 4 - 7 (rush hour) or Sat 10 - 6. Saturdays are just hard for me because I don't have a car and co-parent support with the Kid's schedule.
I spent the rest of the Sunday in a rather nice way. I got a pedicure, and then went grocery shopping. The Kid had a friend over for a sleepover (his parents are friends of ours and had Rolling Stones tickets!) so I wanted to make the boys a nice dinner. I managed a beautiful rib-eye that fed the four of us and some nice roasted potatoes, see?

Prep Stage - pre-roast

The Manfriend prepped some beautiful asparagus and spring onion, but alas! He grabbed the wrong tongs to pick up the pie pan out of the oven and WHOOSH! asparagus everywhere, including the cracks of the oven door ... grumble, grumble.
Pre-roast, pre-whoosh!

Cookies were baked for ice cream sandwiches and a Thai Red Curry was started for Monday night supper. Cookies are more photogenic than my curries though ...

    After board games, some evening boy chatter. The Kids were ready to start a new week at school. This week was the 4th grade class camp night at The Presidio!

    hi-ho! Off to school we go!

    Tuesday, May 7, 2013

    Consumer Post: New Shoes

    This post is an idea/request from HM. She thinks I should write a bit about my favorite purchases, or items that I'm coveting. I think it's funny how she thinks I have any personal taste whatsoever, but I love her dearly and her heart is so good, who can refuse her anything? Okay to prevent this disclaimer getting any longer, here we go ...

    ALDO Brester Shoe

    This shoe is really comfy. (Though I should've worn preemptive band aids to get used to them the first few outings -- this may just be my oddly shaped feet. I have a hard time with new shoes of all kinds.) I got them in the nautical navy and white stripes as well. Those have been less agreeable with my feet, but I still love them. I recommend purchasing the terry cloth liners that can be washed and layed flat to dry. They provide extra cushion, and allow for summer sweaty feet to be absorbed without losing a pair of cute shoes to "stinky flats syndrome" before the season even ends. Please note, they are flats, no arch support. They were also a bargain. $30. They aren't even on the shelves, they are hanging on a flip flop rack looking thing. Grab n' Go shoes, ha!