Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Mean it.

Countryside Softies

If someone buys me this book, I promise they will get a stuffed fox within the month. I'm so serious that I wrote this post in HTML. Just click that image, I dare ya.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Sleeve for a New Laptop

I've been knitting for years now, and I did teach myself how. But until recently, knitting patterns of any kind had me stumped. I think, generally, it's because I don't have the patience to figure out the gauge of the yarn and needles, but once I've got some projects done, maybe I should do some gauge-knitting. Then I could make sweaters and things! But I had to get the terminology down. I figured I'd start with some lacy patterns, so I could learn some tricks, and still work on projects where I could judge the size of the finished product just by looking at it. So I made myself a laptop sleeve!

It's problematic. I love the colour, and the cathedral-like lace turned out perfectly, but... It's too big. And not only that, it's also stretchy. And the laptop slips around in the case so much that I can't hold it without feeling like the whole computer is just going to slip out and break when I haven't even had it for a month. I feel like this even when the closed part is on the bottom. So now, I've got the sleeve lining my otherwise unlined laptop pocket in my knapsack. A complete waste, if you ask me.

Perhaps if I block it, it'll shrink and lose some of its give? I don't know. I'm on to bigger things now anyway.

And another thing: All day I've been wondering what's so special about January 23rd. Just realized: isn't today the statistically worst day of the year? Sigh. Sounds about right. At least my dragonfly earrings make me cool friends on the Skytrain, and there's nothing wrong with having an unwatched episode of Downton Abbey kicking around one's computer either. If only I wasn't so... tired...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bit of a Brag

Last time I talk about the holidays, promise.

I admit it. I watched all of Scrooge. I just like watching a young Albert Finney try to play an old man, and comparing it to today's Albert Finney.

More bragging: I got to snuggle this robed old man for three weeks.

And oh my goodness, by (my) request, lovely steak in madeira sauce with perfectly baked potatoes and green beans for Christmas Eve dinner. I do like green beans.

And yeah, that's the table runner I made last Christmas. Looks like it's going to be a regular Christmas feature.

First use of a Christmas present: boiled egg forms. The heart maybe didn't work so well, but the other one?

YEAH. It's a BUNNY. Unfortunately the method is to peel a hot boiled egg, stick it in the egg form, and dunk it in ice water for ten minutes. At first I thought this would work just fine with soft-boiled eggs, so I could get my Christmas morning runny yolk fix. You know how it is. Anyway, it's really hard to peel a soft-boiled egg. That, and of course being in ice water for ten minutes would make anything cold. So Christmas morning breakfast was adorable, but not very hot on the whole.

Never mind. There was the traditional salmon terrine. It's just not Christmas without this stuff.

And Christmas dinner? Coq-au-vin. Back in the day, my parents made this sometimes, but it's FULL of mushrooms, and mushrooms were one of those things I just would not eat. Mushrooms and pretty much anything that wasn't pasta or boiled potatoes slathered in ketchup. But there was one late evening, and I remember it vividly, that my dad was making coq-au-vin (so the flavours could marry overnight) and the smells came wafting up the stairs to my room. It just smelled so delicious that I promised myself I would try it at dinner. Of course, it's always lived up to my expectations. Oh, except the pearl onions in this particular rendition were a little undercooked, but that was my fault since I was in charge of the onion and mushroom sauce bit. Shame.

Ah, and finally, family Christmas. We'd all been to a late turkey lunch, so dinner was mostly soup and snacks. But check out that gouda, straight from the Netherlands! Also, the second salmon terrine.

And of course, Talia tries some bean dip. The chips were ok, but the bean dip "accidentally" fell into her bowl and stayed there. More for the rest of us!

Most of Christmas was just me and my mom. One of the first things I did when I got home (after snuggling the dog) was download Love, Actually and force her to watch it. I was so happy she enjoyed it since, ignoring the blatantly romantic bits, the movie always reminds me of her. Maybe because she always picks me up from the airport. Or maybe because Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without her.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Quickie

Earlier in the fall, I made this nonsensical resolution that my to-read shelf on Goodreads would not be permitted to exceed the total books that I have read and am currently reading. So I haven't been to a bookstore and didn't ask for any books for Christmas. Besides, I haven't even had a chance to open a few of the books I got last Christmas, despite every good intention to devour them. But I did read We Need to Talk about Kevin before it even made it to the to-read shelf, and I'm reunited with my Napoleon book so I have high hopes.

And anyway, my brothers ignored my silly decisions and got me a whole bunch of books. Must admit this one is the most exciting. The perfect companion to Alexandre Dumas's Napoleonic epic (The Last Cavalier) must undoubtedly be The Black Count, which is a biography of Dumas's father (a celebrated general, and contemporary of Napoleon). Tom Reiss hasn't mentioned The Last Cavalier yet (it was lost until very recently), but the book does mention a few of the general's exploits (no historical text worth its salt would leave him out, apparently). So it's all very interesting and I'm reminded of why I love Alexandre Dumas oh so much. Despite the fact that he had a bit of a factory going on, and many of his longer texts are drastically inconsistent because they were written by other writers in his employ.

Nevertheless, they're all very exciting. And one of my brothers actually found an antique set of Dumas's work that was complete but for one novel. Have I mentioned that I collect antique editions of Dumas's works? No? Probably because it's the nerdiest pastime, that's why. But I've got four, and they're all beautiful.