Thursday, September 27, 2007

Most Amazing Meal...EVER

So, this past weekend, Geek Boy and I headed to the Art Museum with some friends for a scavenger hunt. What a blast. If they are in your area, grab a bunch of friends and go! It was well organized and so much fun.

After the hunt, Geek Boy and I decided to head over to a new-to-us beer bar. We've known about it for a while, but we don't venture downtown very often. That may change. Brigid's is a small little bar in the middle of a Fairmont Park neighborhood. Parking is tight, and we lucked out with a spot right across the street (bonus, it's a neighborhood, so no parking meters). They describe their cuisine as "homestyle." But your mom would have to be Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown all rolled into one to have this kind of homestyle food. The menu isn't extensive, printed on just one side of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. And you have to order everything at once; no ordering an appetizer while you decide what you want. We went all out, ordering appetizers, entrees and desserts. When the waitress stopped by to ask how we were doing I pointed at my empty plate and told her that first, I never eat all my vegetables, and second, I would never order this type of entree anywhere else again, because it will never be as good. Apparently this made the chef very happy.

Brigid's is also a great place for beer. They have a great selection of bottled beers from around the world (especially Belgium). On tap they had some local stuff, Victory and Troeg's, as well as some new-to-me stuff. I had a tripel, the name of which I can't remember, and it was very tasty. Then I ordered a Blanche de Bruxelle--somehow, wheat beers have grown on me this summer. Geek Boy also had some great stuff, but I can't remember what they were (reminder: charge the Palm Pilot and actually carry it with you!).

We're already planning to take my folks there for dinner one night, and to get our good beer friends to try Brigid's brunch with us. This has become my hands down favorite restaurant in Philly. If you're inthe Art Museum area, definitely check it out. Hey, it's even made Philadelphia Magazine's list of 50 best meals under $50 (for two). (The Grey Lodge is also on that list...another great beer place in Philly.)

As for knitting...I finished the raspberry tomato.

Obviously, it needs to be blocked. I'm hoping to have it ready to wear when we go to Tria this weekend with some friends. The Mission Falls Cotton went the distance. I didn't have to dig into the "2nd dye lot" skeins. To make it last, I decided to do the neck edging in a different color. I also really liked the look of doing the last two rows of the edging in a different color. Kinda wish I had thought of that before I bound off the bottom. Oh, well. I still really like it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Serving Time

That's what I feel like I've been doing over the last week.

Last Thursday I was called for jury duty. Technically, I was a standby. So, I dutifully called Wednesday night to hear that all regular and rescheduled jurors were to report, as well as stand-by jurors numbers one through two hundred ten. So, I got there early, expecting a full house. I obviously have no idea how the system works, because that somehow equals only 50 people. We waited until 3.00, when they finally took a panel of 45 people for the one trial that day. Apparently I look fair and impartial, because I got seat number 12 on the jury. Which meant back at 9.30 the next morning for the trial. Luckily it was short--the deliberation took longer than the actual testimony--and we were out by 3.00.

But that made for a lot of sitting around time. If one needed a gauge by which to measure just how much time is spent sitting and waiting during jury duty, well, you could show them this:

By the time I got home on Friday, this is how much progress I had made on my latest sock. Also factor in three false starts. It's just a simple pattern of a knit row, and a knit through the back loop row, with some slipped stitches thrown in for detail. The yarn is Sundara Yarn Sweet Briar Rose sportweight. This is quite possibly the most beautiful yarn I have ever knit with. And, I don't think any of my pictures truly do it justice.

Since Friday, I've had a Knit Night with some friends, spent time manning the library table at the local Arts Festival, and spent time waiting for the police chief to finish his budget meeting with borough council before going in for my turn. So, how much waiting time is that?

A lot. That's why I'm dubbing these the "Serving Time" socks.

Lucky for my mom. I gave her a pair of socks back in January and she just loved them. Every time she wore them to work, she'd call me during the day to tell me how much she loved them. Then the message became how much she loved them, and she needed more. She prefers dark colors for her socks, so these will be perfect.

And for the end of the Summer of Socks, how about another visit from Santa?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

This week's question:

So, this is my question to you–are you a Goldilocks kind of reader?

Do you need the light just right, the background noise just so loud but not too loud, the chair just right, the distractions at a minimum?

Or can you open a book at any time and dip right in, whether it’s for twenty seconds, while waiting for the kettle to boil, or indefinitely, like while waiting interminably at the hospital–as long as the book is open in front of your nose, you’re happy to read?

I can read anywhere, anytime. But I am also extremely distracted. So, I have a book on the nightstand that I read before bed. This book is usually read with at least one cat crawling across my head.

There is also a "carry around" book that I keep in my purse (kind of like a sock in progress) for those times when I'm meeting people and get there early. The carry around book is usually a collection of essays of some sort, so that if a month passes between readings, I can pick it up and not worry about remembering a plot. Think David Sedaris or Laurie Notaro. These books are usually read while sitting in my car, or, better yet, while sitting at a bar, sipping a beer and waiting for a friend.

Reading anywhere but in bed does bring out my ability to be easily distracted. If someone walks in the restaurant, I have to look. If the kids next door are out, I have to see what they're doing. Who's walking down the street? But I've always been like that, and it doesn't affect my ability to make progress on and retain what I'm reading. In fact, my last reading in public venture was at a Kildaire's bar, enjoying calamari and a Sam Adams while reading Social Networking Software in Libraries. I'm sure the bartender went home that night with a "You won't believe this one" story.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Queen of the Discount Bin

I admit it. I'm a cheap yarn snob. Or perhaps a frugal fiber aficionado. I like good fibers. I've learned over the years how much nicer they are to knit with. (Although I do also believe that good acrylics have their place too...especially for things that are going to be worn and washed hard.) And I love a good bargain. Which is why I always scour the sale bins at my favorite shops.

On the upside, I can get a lot of something I might have otherwise passed up. Last summer, I picked up a bunch of Berroco Denim Silk for $3 per hank. A few weeks ago, at the same shop, I grabbed about 900 yards of Berroco Lullaby for the same price. And then there's the 100% cashmere I added to the stash when my favorite yarn shop went out of business ($8.50 a ball...I bought all that was left).

The downside to this, is that I have to work with what I find. And usually these yarns are discounted because they've been discontinued. So, I have to search for patterns that fit the yarn.

Back when Mission Falls stopped making their 1824 Cotton, my now defunct favorite yarn shop had a small collection of the stuff in the sale bin for (you guessed it) $3. I grabbed it up, thinking someday I'd find something to do with it. But everything I looked at seemed to require just a little more yarn than I had available.

Then Mission Falls came back! Matching the yarn/dye lot was not going to be possible, but complementary colors could work. And thus:

My version of the Tomato top from No Sheep for You. I'm calling it the Raspberry. I also have a pale green that I may use for the neckline, depending on how much of the raspberry (actually it's called Cosmos) is left.

This is my first attempt at fair isle. I've done some color work before, but not like this. I love it! It's not perfect, but my floats are pretty even. I tried to be very conscious of holding the yarns loosely, but not too loosely. I have this squished up on a pretty small needle, so I can't be sure for a few more inches of exactly how successful I've been (a lot of my Denise cords have broken, probably my cat's fault, and I haven't replaced them yet, so I have limited resources).

I see more fair isle in my future. Time to go raid another clearance bin. Anyone know of any good fair isle socks?