porch writing.

If you have to write a dissertation, I recommend doing it this way. Seriously.

Working from the porch means you get to watch the sunset.

This morning, I fried two eggs, added a little bit of green chile, and took it out to the porch.

It was a little chilly, so I pulled on my first handknit sweater. (This is how I know it is really fall.)

Fall (okay, and playtime with my neighbor’s dog) makes Boh sleepy. (I wish you could hear the snoring.) Another sign of fall?

Roasted tomatoes.

Roasted tomatoes on homemade pizza. With gorgonzola.

Also, scalloped tomatoes with croutons. I love this recipe. In conclusion, I love fall. (In case you can’t tell, it feels really good to set aside grading and fellowship applications, even if only for a couple of days, and get back to my project. I need to remember this, and aim for a bit more balance in my work-life.)

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lake house.

As you can see, we are hard at work. I am so lucky to have friends who are excited to spend their first hours of freedom from teaching and exams painting my new house.

First dinner — local pizza — on the porch.

Last night’s meal: homemade bread courtesy of Ethel Louise and a spinach salad. You’re going to be seeing a lot of this porch!

I just folded my Lendrum and put it in its fancy bag for the first time. I’m so excited to get my yarn and fiber organized in my office (I guess my books will have to go there too) so that I can get back to spending quality time at my wheel!

There will be internet at the house on Friday, which is when I plan to introduce Boh to his new home. More soon!

inching forward.

I’ll start with the knitting progress, as it is the most tangible. I spent a few hours knitting last night, and gained an inch or two on the foot of the first sock of this pair. The pooling is horrendous, the sock seems a little big to me, but you know what? I love this yarn, and I am going to love these socks. These were once too-big toe up socks from a KAL oriented around Socks From the Toe Up, and then they were a pair of the Gentleman’s Fancy Socks (from Knitting Vintage Socks, maybe? I’m too lazy to look), and then they became basic stockinette “vanilla” (as the Knitmore Girls say) socks because I needed something to knit on during a lecture about nineteenth-century spirit photographs.

This is from a morning last week, but it could be today, as Boh has decided that today is the kind of day for getting back into bed. It is slushy and rainy outside, and I don’t blame him.

I was really on a pizza-making kick last week. This one was so delicious that there weren’t any leftovers…

This weekend, Boh and I headed home for my family’s annual February turkey dinner, where everybody gets together for a low-stress Thanksgiving-like meal. The food was delicious, and it was great to lounge around my parents’ house with family. And Boh got a bath. (He’s thrilled.) I think I did more driving than reading this weekend, but the change of scenery helped me finish up a draft of a research proposal, so I’m calling it a productive weekend. Plus, my parents sent me home with enough leftovers to feed me through Tuesday!

Alright, time to start the week.

 

terra, tretorns, and everything in between.

Literally. See, I finally uploaded about thirty pictures from my camera, and they start with my progress on terra’s lace, and end with my new rain boots, acquired in a ridiculous end-of-winter clearance. Let the show and tell begin.

Terra. I’ve got less than ten rows remaining, but these are some loooong rows. I am so excited about this shawl, but it’s probably going to be mid-March before I finish it. And I’m okay with that.

Homemade pizza with local swiss chard that I picked, blanched, and froze at the end of fall. Making pizza for one means leftovers!

Idlewood in action. Again. This might be the most wearable sweater I’ve ever knit, and is part of the uniform I think I’m accidentally adopting. Part project fake-it-til-you-make-it, part I-really-hate-it-when-winter-slush-and-salt-soak-the-bottoms-of-my-jeans, I’m realizing that some combination of leggings, boots, shorter skirts or dresses and slouchy, layered sweaters seems to be what I’m wearing most days. Somehow it seems to fit with 29. I can’t explain it.

Boh has the right idea. Usually he gets up with me, but lately, as soon as I groan and turn off the alarm, he settles into some part of the warmth I’ve generated, and I get up to make the coffee. Cuteness.

Yes, that’s right. I received a valentine in the mail from dear friend E., and this is what I found when I opened the rather battered and clearly re-taped envelope. At least the candy thief opted to reseal and re-mail the envelope. The valentine is of course the part that matters to me, and the whole thing gave me a good laugh yesterday, which might have been just what I needed after a long day on campus. Plus, it gave me a great story to leave on E.’s voicemail.

Rubber rain boots. Necessary for spring. Also, for lake houses. (Yay!)

The madness of desk #2, above, is a good indication of how frazzled things are right now. I’m not sure about my posting frequency these next few months — I’ll be here, but there might be lots more of these disjointed “show and tell” style posts for awhile, and a little less knitting. And I’ve clearly been more than a little delinquent in the land of comments. I’m going to do my best, but I have no idea what I’ll have time and energy for. I’m planning to read until I can’t read anymore for the next six weeks, and then my exams begin. Let’s just agree that if all goes well, there will be lots more knitting, spinning, cooking, and blogging come May! Thanks for being here in the meantime.

chard, pizza, simple things.

The first day of fall hit me hard. By mid-afternoon, I was feeling lousy, and was finally convinced to crawl into bed for a nap around 4. I’m not sure if this was allergy-related, or if I’m coming down with some sort of transitioning-to-fall flu. Feeling alright this morning, but trying to take it easy, just in case. So this is yesterday — simple things: chard from the farm, blanched and packaged to go into the freezer, pizza with cherry tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and cherry tomato confit, and, of course, simple things in shawlette form.

Off to campus. (Is it the weekend yet? Please?)

FO: hemlock ring.

First, the answer to the blocking dilemma: blocking trumps civilized meals at the table. I opted not to use pins — the ecowool was sticky enough that it seemed to stay where I pulled/tugged it, probably thanks to gravity, as most of the “petals” were hanging off the table. Despite rolling the blanket in a towel before laying it out to dry, I had to periodically wipe up puddles from beneath the petals.  Because this is a wedding gift, I decided not to spread it out again to photograph it — that just seemed like a recipe for a blanket covered in Boh-hair. So here’s a shot of the finished hemlock ring, folded and draped over a chair in the kitchen:

I am thrilled with how this turned out. Plus, I learned new things about lace knitting, casting on, and binding off, and I reclaimed some lace knitting confidence after my ishbel fail. Victory! I used just under 1.5 skeins of Cascade Ecowool (using US 10.5 needles as called for in the pattern) and I made the regular size, binding off at the marked row on the chart. And with the kitchen table back, I made pizza for dinner last night.

This is a tomato, basil, and mozzarella pizza — no sauce, just some olive oil brushed on underneath the toppings. This is might be my new favorite pizza combination — the tomatoes were so sweet — almost caramelized by the heat of the oven.

In the land of tomatoes, want to see what I have planned in the kitchen for tonight, tomorrow, and/or Friday?

Time to can some tomatoes! I’ve never done this before, and I’m psyched. My mom emailed me her recipe for sauce and scanned in her handwritten notes about canning whole tomatoes. I remember her doing this when I was little, and I am looking forward to having my own jars of tomatoes I picked on my shelves!

Also, my fridge was so colorful after I unloaded yesterday’s haul from the farm that I just had to take a picture. I also opened the fridge door and pulled out the drawers so that the boy could admire everything from the rainbow of goodness inside to the adorableness of the baby eggplants.

Last picture today: year three, day one. Me and my goofy grin are off to campus soon. A big year begins. But first, I’m going to knit another inch of that big, happy cowl-neck.

there and back.

Apologies — I didn’t intend to just stop posting this week! I think I’m still recovering from my whirlwind 36 hour (+travel time) trip to LA for the wedding of a dear friend. I’m up early this morning, enjoying a full mug of coffee before heading off to an 8 am yoga class, and I have some photos to share. (Not much knitting, I’m afraid.)

The hotel was less than 3 miles from the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. How could I not go? (Especially after TAing a class this spring that covered the Reagan presidency.) Let’s just say that the view was fantastic. The rest? I was surprised at the lack of any sort of coherent narrative (triumphant or otherwise) about Reagan or his presidency. Don’t get me wrong; there was quite a bit of material suggesting that Reagan single-handedly won the Cold War, but it was repetitive and rather disjointed. Instead, the focus seemed to be on the spaces Reagan inhabited: “his” Air Force One (commissioned in 1973, decommissioned in 2001 — he logged the most mileage and negotiated to display it when it was retired), a Cadillac from his motorcade, a replica of his Oval Office, and a scale model, dollhouse style, of the entire White House.  I have lots more to say about the ways the volunteer tour guides described the various exhibits, as well as the mandatory posed photo at the entrance to Air Force One (not unlike those roller coaster photos you have the option to purchase at an amusement park), but I’ll stop there for now.

The wedding took place at a stunning temple high above the Simi Valley. I posted a handful of photos from the pre-wedding receptions and the ceremony itself on Flickr, if you’re interested. (Click through on the sidebar.)

Despite the briefness of my trip, I had a fantastic weekend. It was so nice to catch up with dear friends, and especially wonderful to see the bride and groom so happy.

Boh stayed with his best friends this weekend, and when I picked him up (after a red-eye and an hour and a half drive from the airport), he didn’t seem to want to leave. Once we got home, however, he made himself comfortable. Here he is after our much needed afternoon nap on Monday.

This pizza was made with bbq sauce. Note to self: in the future, check the cupboard for tomato sauce BEFORE making pizza dough. (You know, if tomato sauce is important to you. The bbq sauce was actually pretty awesome, and I’d do this again.)

I call this “unstuffed zucchini.” Last night I looked at my farm share and thumbed through a favorite cookbook full of recipes contributed by CSA farmers, and stumbled across a whole page of ideas for stuffings to use in vegetables. This is a mixture of onions, tomatoes, chopped basil, garlic, ricotta and mozzerella. I sauteed the veggies, mixed in the cheese, and then instead of stuffing the zucchini, I simply chopped it up with some summer squash, poured the stuffing on top, and baked it until it developed a nice crust (45 minutes or so). Let’s just say there isn’t any left.

And there you have it. I’m about 15 rows from the end of my hemlock ring, and I will be almost sad to finish it. I’m going to have to make another, as this one will soon be winging its way to LA in honor of the union we celebrated last weekend.

In other news, the boy returns tomorrow. Hooray!