knitter next door

How I became a girl who can't say no to knitting (and other musings on obsession) esimnitt (at) yahoo (dot) com

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Guilty pleasures

The guilty pleasure I'm indulging in this Sunday is most definitely sloth. And I feel guilty as hell about it. Even as I try to enjoy not leaving the house and lounging in jeans, flip flops and my favorite bright green cashmere cardigan, I feel regular waves of guilt.

The weekends have become a little to precious. They're this holy space, whose every drop should be used to the fullest. "What if I knit most of the day, but don't really enjoy it," I wonder. "Will I have wasted my weekend?" "Shouldn't I have been outside pulling up our unsightly shrubs, or, worse/better, pruning the rose bushes?"

I'm coming along quite nicely on my second sock pal sock, so I should be able to finish up just in time to get it to the post office by 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday. I suppose that isn't very slothful.

But then, again, what about the rose bushes?

As for the picture, I wanted to post one more Japan food photo. I read about omusubi (hand-pressed rice) in "Washoku Kitchen" today, and the author, Elizabeth Andoh, relates her first experience with Japanese food: Omusubi at a train station filled with pickled plum. Me, too!

We have mere minutes before catching the train from Tokyo to Kyoto on our first day in country and Dave ran in to one of the many shops at the train station, grabbing a couple of foreign objects he hoped would be edible (and some lovely green tea to wash it down, of course). One of the treats, the triangle thing, happened to be rice pressed around a tangy, tart umeboshi. The whole thing was wrapped in nori. As we shared it, we knew we were going to fall in love with (most) of the food we'd be eating.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday: Food Day

It's Friday afternoon, and I'm off work. I'm tired and have become a little too dreamy blazing through Kate Atkinson's "Case Histories."

So I thought I'd take a break and come back to the reality of my stomach (the one thing sure to bring me out of a reading jag). Beside my diet Pepsi on the patio table near the chair where I'm gobbling up the sad-and-funny tale of loss and the infuriating inability of adults to have real relationships with each other sits "Washoku Kitchen" (which I've mentioned before).

To better help me saver my book -- and not turn into the half-crazed weirdo my mom warned me I would from dwelling too much in a fantasy world -- I've been leafing through recipes for noodles and rice. Which of course got me thinking about all the food pictures we took in Japan.

We are as obsessed with food as much as anything else and couldn't help shooting almost everything we ate. So here's a sampling. This picture shows the noodles we ate at Omen in Kyoto (or rather the veggies we scooped into our big bowl of brothy udon that we ate in Kyoto).

I would be willing to pay someone a ridiculously large sum to come to my house right now and make this for dinner. Any takers?

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No food essay of our Japan trip would be complete without a nod to the ubiquitous vending machine. We were able to get a cool, refreshing bottle of unsweetened green tea every few feet. These machines (and the nice people who stock them) are one of the things I really wanted to bring back to Boise. Posted by Picasa

Me with my grilled eel and tempura in the nicest place we ate in Tokyo. Wish I had such a set menu before me right now. Posted by Picasa

Who knows? It looks like a half loaf of Wonder bread topped with ice cream. We saw this display in many restaurants in Tokyo, but never got around to trying it (it would leave less room for glorious udon). Posted by Picasa

Some Japanese guys make a treat we, with our Idaho-American tastebuds, dubbed "tako-yucky." As near as we could tell, it's a dumplingy, eggy thing with cabbage and squid sprinkled with the very strong tasting katsuo-bushi. We tried it in Muryama Park in Kyoto in the rain when we were so hungry we would have eaten anything. To get the taste out, we found a Starbucks where we ordered hot chocolate and a chocolate chip scone. How sad, sorry, totally-American is that? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

When I'm not blogging (or working, boss), you'll find me frantically knitting my sock pal's dreamy, beachy wavy lace socks. I don't want to document just how far I have to go, so, instead, I give you a picture of the Tokyo subway. This picture helps remind me how glad I am to live in Boise where I never have to press my face up against the glass of the train because there are a hundred other tired, stressed out people behind me. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Soxing Mightily

This is what I intend to be -- a mighty soxer -- this week as I race to meet the sockapaloooza deadline.

(This is the first of many pictures I hope to post from my nine-day stay in Japan. This shop is located in the uber funky Harajuku neighborhood).

I've only started sock number one, but no worries. I've made a pair of socks in less than a week before (but then I wasn't obsessed with finishing the Tales of the Otori trilogy).

Sock details: I'm using a lovely Lorna's Laces that reminds me of the beach with its tans, greys and light blues. I'm using the waving lace socks pattern from the very first Knits issue I bought (Spring 2004) because I wanted to make these socks even back then when reading a sock pattern was a lot like reading Kanji. Fear not, sock pal!
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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Japan, Here I Come

Here it is: A finished (almost) baby sweater and my last entry before I fly over the Pacific Ocean and spend my long anticipated week in Japan.

First, the sweater details: I adapted the pattern in last summer's Knits baby section to work for some Pakucho cotton I had hanging around. It gets two colors because I didn't have enough of the white to make an entire sweater. This little cutey (which I love, love, love) is destined for my grand niece. Yes, grand niece. It'll get a purple ribbon tie near the top and the baby bonnet (see post below) before it's sent off in the mail. That, of course, will be after I get back from Japan.

Expect to be bored to tears by pictures and stories of Janglish, hardships searching for Japanese yarn and longings to go back (I hope).

In the meantime, here's some interesting stories:

-- The case of the farting chair.

-- I'm not much of a sausage eater, but I've got a hankering to try

-- Speaking of food (and Japan), I've fallen in love with Elizabeth Andoh's "Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen" cookbook. I checked it out of the library, renewed it twice and put it at the top of my wishlist. I'm following the lead of Rebecca's Pocket and only buying one cookbook a year (me and my fat jeans are slogging through the stick-to-your-ribs diner fair of Rachael Ray just now). I can't buy until December, but I'm pretty sure this James Beard nominee is it.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It's Tuesday

That's about all I can say about today. It was gray and rainy and my resolve to ride my bike to the library to take back Weatherman drizzled down to a nap on the couch instead.

Now, feeling oh-so-rested, I bring you these random tidings:

-- You can get a chance to be in a McDonald's ad or something by going here. Not that I support McDonalds in any way (except maybe in the way that the cup of Seattle's Best McDonald's coffee Katy at work gave me saved my life on Monday, the first day of work after springing forward).

-- This site helps you figure out how to deal with a bad boss. We've all had one of these at one time. (My worst boss: My very first one at Subway sandwiches. I got hired because I played the piano and chewed out on my first day for not having enough enthusiasm about the meatball sub).

-- And finally, the yummy-sounding cinnamon hot chocolate recipe I found while browing BHG:

3 cups skim milk
4 (3-1/2-inch) cinnamon sticks
12 ounces
bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Ground cinnamon, for dusting

Simmer the milk and the cinnamon sticks. Remove the cinnamon sticks and add the chocolate. Let stand for a couple of minutes, then whisk the chocolate until it melts. (The recipe calls for home whipped cream on top, but I'm not a fan of the stuff).

I'm hoping when I make myself a cup tonight that it's as good as the cuppa hot chocolate I had at the French Cafe on Sunday. Holy cow. It was enough to make one swear off coffee.

Monday, April 03, 2006


I thought I was using Larissa's baby bonnet pattern, but mine turned into a hat for a very pointy-headed young thing. I guess I sewed up too much of the crown? At this late date, I'm not sure what to do (it's for a niece; her shower is soon). I hope all my recent experiments don't turn out so alien.

My other big experiment is at work, where I've just officially become the online morning reporter. I help break news on our web site and I'm supposed to be this fun, quirky personality. The latter hasn't really happened, so I'm experimenting with ways to be fun online with this blog. That's why you'll see the new poll question (which all of two people have answered; the third is me answering from my home computer after answering at work). The next step may be "appearing" on the radio in the morning with news updates from the paper. It's either a stellar opportunity or a chance to make a fool of myself (the same holds true, I suppose, of giving the above bonnet).

Here's a couple of things I'm not quite ready to experiment with yet:

-- A lighted up bra.

-- Homemade vegan twinkies.
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