shake some action.

First of all, “Shake Some Action” by the Flamin’ Groovies is the first track on my not-yet-finished 2012 mix. I heard it on an NPR All Songs Considered podcast about opening tracks on albums this morning (though the episode was from June 2010). I’m glad I didn’t get to this until today, because there’s something about this song that is spot-on for me right now.

I’m doing end-of-the-year things today. I made my 2012 list for the fridge (above), and I finally got around to pulling all of the books off of all of the shelves and grouping them by theme — you know, so the books I need for work are in the office. When I unpacked, the goal was just to get everything out of boxes and onto shelves. And then I never got around to organizing them. Now that my books are spread out across several rooms, I need to be able to find them. Also, the water damage of earlier this fall has been fixed, which means I am finally ready to fully re-inhabit my office. I hung my DIY-ed frame cork board (which has been leaning against the wall in the guest room for 7 months) and cleaned up the piles. I’m so happy with this space.

I even tried to snap a self-portrait. Here’s the best one:

Last night I had a hard time falling asleep. I ended up getting out of bed, chopping off several handfuls of my hair, and taking a shower. Now I feel a bit more ready for the new year. (I think I’ve told you about this before, right? That I tend to cut my hair when I am feeling stressed, and that it helps? There’s so much I can’t control in the world, but my hair? I can fix that. My curls hide a multitude of sins/errors, making it possible for me to literally cut off hunks without too much worry. I don’t recommend this if you don’t have hair with similarly awesome camouflaging qualities…)

I also found some time to knit on my touch of mink socks. I love them. (Next time I’ll snap a picture while there’s still a bit of daylight. This shot doesn’t do the yarn justice.)

Tonight, Boh and I are off to hang out with dear friends of the human and animal variety. We’re planning to enjoy dessert, bourbon, and board games. I’m not sure we’ll make it to midnight, but I trust that the new year will arrive, even if I’m not awake to ring it in. Here’s to 2012 — I’m sure ready for a new year.

christmas week.

This is the first year in several years (really, the first since I picked up knitting again as an adult) that I didn’t knit any Christmas or Hanukkah presents. I didn’t necessarily plan it that way; it just turned out that this year I’m doing a lot of knitting for weddings instead. And somehow, despite bringing home the hap blanket and the socks I started a few weeks ago, I didn’t knit a stitch while I was at my parents’ house for Christmas. I did eat, however, and that’s mostly what I’ve got pictures of.

Every year my dad bakes Czechoslovakian hoska bread. And it is delicious.

Boh, laying in front of the beautiful tree at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. Both of my parents wrap the prettiest presents I’ve ever seen. (I did not inherit this gift.)

A little bit of work in between Christmas celebrations. Mom and Dad napped; I made a pot of coffee and finished a book. (And it didn’t feel strange. Apparently this is how we roll. Or something.)

And then there was bear meat. This was a gift from my friends J. and E., the sweet folks who got married in the North Carolina mountains this fall. I brought it home so my parents could help me decide what to do with it — and help me eat it. Chili was prepared, and I was sent home with a hearty container’s worth for my freezer. (And it was delicious.)

I can’t believe it is already the end of the December! Here’s hoping your holidays have been filled with family, friends, love, and the warmth of handknits.

expanding my vocabulary.

Gougeres. Say it with me. (Actually, I don’t know how to say it. Also, my French pronunciation is terrible. See the trip I took to Montreal and Quebec City with the boy from three winters ago.) The good news is that proper pronunciation is not required to enjoy this treat.

And then I made some white bean dip with rosemary and garlic infused olive oil. Also courtesy of Heidi at 101 cookbooks. (This recipe was from one of her cookbooks. Which are awesome.) Anyway, I actually called up friends of mine before eating this for lunch because these seemed too good not to share. We had dinner instead, and I brought the tray of unbaked gougeres I had tucked into the freezer and the leftover bean dip. I will definitely be making both of these recipes again. Soon.

Speaking of vocabulary, I don’t think there’s a word for this.

Or this. Boh loves to smash the flat part of his forehead up against things (like me) while he takes his morning nap. The sweetness, it’s too much.

I’ve got words for this — two, in fact: heel flap! Remember the super short hiya-hiya circular needle I posted about a long time ago? I dug it out for the stockinette section of the leg of this sock and all of a sudden it was time to work the heel. Love. My fingers got used to the needle after only a few rows. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to knit a few rows before Boh and I retire for the evening.

touch of mink.

That’s the name of this Plucky colorway. And I love it. I can’t believe this is my first time knitting with Sarah’s yarn. It’s awesome. (Thanks, Chris, for including it a prize package I won on your blog awhile back!) These are vanilla socks. I took the wound yarn cake with me on my research trip, cast on while waiting for my flight to depart, and then didn’t pick it up again until I was flying home. I hadn’t finished the ribbing by the time my plane landed, and since then, I’ve been knitting up a storm. (I’m turning the heel right now. Pictures of that tomorrow.) Anyway, despite showing up to my friends’ apartment with a 24-hour stomach bug, the trip was productive, fun, and energizing.

Last night I reheated one of the baguettes K. and I froze from our kitchen adventures this summer, and then cooked some komatsuna in olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. And then I knit some more.

Boh did this.

This might be my favorite picture from my trip, and fellow historians will understand why. I was looking at archival materials held in a place other than a formal archive — which meant I could keep my stuff nearby, and bring a latte to keep me company. Don’t worry — this picture is the closest that coffee ever came to that box of old stuff. After I snapped this picture, my lunch bag and my latte went to another table! I certainly understand why there are rules governing conduct in archives, and I am happy to follow them, as I like being able to look at stuff from a really long time ago. Days spent in archives, though, tend to be a little rough: I’m often strapped for time on these short research trips, and the rules mean I end up under-caffeinated, dehydrated, and hungry by the end of the day. It felt like a real treat to be able to fetch boxes myself, sip coffee at a safe distance from my materials, and interact with a wider range of people, by virtue of occupying space at a table in the middle of the office that was so kind to host me for a few days last week.

More (knitting) soon!

in the kitchen/on the porch.

My winter farm share started last week, which means the fridge is bursting with tasty root vegetables. Also, my friend M. is moving away (which is very sad). She’s emptying her kitchen, so on Saturday night she came over for soup, biscuits, and some Boh cuddling. And all that provided some kitchen motivation for me. So on Saturday afternoon I made veggie stock (using the recipe in the back of the first 101 cookbooks cookbook as a rough guide), and then I set to making potato leek soup, or to be more precise, the leek and potato soup from Alice Waters’ cookbook, The Art of Simple Food. (Great book.)

Leeks softening in butter on the stove. Yum.

And while the soup simmered, I took some pictures of the sunset from the porch. So beautiful. And then  M. and I had a lovely evening.

Yesterday, I managed to get my phone-camera out fast enough to catch Boh in action, playing a game with his ring toy. He was sort of trying to throw it to himself, but not always succeeding because he was tilting his head back. Funny to watch.

And then, last night, after a batch of kale chips to tide me over, I made this — Deb’s crispy potato roast. (Public service announcement: potato peelers are for potatoes, not for pointer fingers. I’m fine, and the potatoes were worth it.) I might have eaten ALL of this for dinner. That’s how good it was. (M — thanks for the potatoes!)

I’m gearing up for one last research trip this week, so we have plans to take a mid-morning walk with our friend R., who will be hanging out Boh at the lake while I’m gone. It looks like it is going to be a beautiful day. (More knitting soon. Really.)

a winter walk.

Last Saturday morning, Boh and I woke up early, and part of the way through my first cup of coffee and my bowl of muesli, I had a thought — wouldn’t my sweet dog enjoy a special walk? So we bundled up, hopped in the car, and enjoyed a solid hour of cold-weather Saturday morning strolling. (Well, I strolled. Boh mostly bounded.)

This is Boh waiting patiently while I photograph the waterfall.

It was a crisp, clear morning, and the sun was just starting to break through the trees to hit the path as we walked back toward the car.

Awesome tree roots.

Walks are much more pleasant with hand knits. (In particular, my thanksgiving day mitts.) Happy Friday!

sweetness.

Boh keeps me company while I read.

A glimpse of a favorite handknit and tea with milk and sugar.

Coltrane, ready for bed. (Seriously. Apparently if he doesn’t get tucked in, he waits at the bedroom door. Also, note the paw under the pillow. I love this dog.)

More soon. (With knitting?)