Wednesday, November 28, 2007

BLOG used to mean something else

I find it interesting that I BLOG. I know it means weblog but it used to mean something else. Like now, while I'm fighting off the effects of a cold, just 3 days from getting on a plane to fly to Jamaica. BLOG is the word I would say back in the 1900s.

We used a few other strange acronyms. IGAS meant "I Give A Sh#$" and was usually said in a bland sort of way.

BLOG is how I got up this morning after essentially no sleep last night. I took a sudafed. I don't know if it kept me awake. It kept me breathing. That's important. But today was the tai chi demonstration for my Sifu's boss: the US Government. Someone from Washington DC was in town and the Colonel decided to have "events" in her honor. So we spent an hour demonstrating what we do at the school. Dave, Warren, Sifu, and I had a great deal of fun. Sifu performed all the forms: cane, fan, 40-form, sword, broadsword (saber), 2-person form, applications. She's amazing, which is why I have stayed with her for 14+ years.

I'm busy planning what to take to Jamaica. I'm knitting an alpaca and sparkles scarf. It may end up with the sparkles on the ends and plain "Ruby" in the middle. Ruby is the animal it came from. I'm also bringing socks, er, not socks but sock stuff. I have one and a half pair already done to take along. Unfortunately, it is going to be a bit loose. I used US3 needles for the first completed pair and they are too big. Panda bamboo and cotton does not, repeat, not shrink, no matter how hard I try.

So I'm waiting for my Jimmy Beans Wool order to arrive. The tracking says UPS will get it to me tomorrow, Thursday. We leave at Oh Dark Thirty Saturday, so I should be fine. I ordered a couple 40" US2 circular needles to do the magic loop sock knitting trick. It'll be my first but I have a book in case I forget due to lack of sleep or something.

Watch this blog for vacation posts. If we have a decent internet connection, that is. I'll try to get one photo up Sunday.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Yarn Cafe and Baklava

A couple months ago, Betty e-mailed me with information on how to get a $50 gift certificate for $25 at the Yarn Cafe in Maple Grove. She, Ann, and I decided to go for it and today, the day after Thanksgiving, we visited the shop. There were a lot of ladies there and gobs of gorgeous yarn. My eye kept being drawing in different directions. Wherever I looked was a dizzying sea of color and texture. Once I steadied myself, I realized I'd already paid for my purchases and all I had to do was take it to the counter. I settled on some sock yarn.
Ann's eyes landed on an amazing felted jacket. The first one we looked at was in an off white and just lovely. There was a tourquoise one as well as a small child's jacket. Betty enabled Ann quite nicely. It was fun watching them going from wool yarn to mohair and back again finding enough skeins of compatible colors. Ann settled on medium gray wool and a mixed pastel mohair. It will be lovely.
The Yarn Cafe also serves food and we all had their chicken noodle soup, which I thought was quite good, if a bit salty. And we had half sandwiches to go with the soup. Clever idea, yarn and a cafe.

After we were sure there wasn't anything more we just couldn't live without, we drove to the house of a lovely woman named Pat who taught us how to make baklava. She had already purchased all the ingredients for us. The nuts were ground and seasoned before we arrived. Philo dough is extremely thin and you have to work quickly before it gets dry and crumbly.

The first thing we had to do was layer 15 sheets of philo dough in the pan, painting each with clarified butter, using paint brushes. Then we layered the ground nuts (not quite powdered) with more philo and more nuts, etc. When we were finished with the nuts, we layered the rest of the philo sheets and butter until we were out of philo. We cut them into triangles and poured the rest of the butter over the tops.
Then we waited for them to bake in the oven. A little wine helped the wait.

When they were nearly done, we created the sugar syrup, flavored with honey, lemon, orange, and a cinnamon stick which we poured over the finished baklava. Yum.