Friday, February 29, 2008

Budget for February--blown

I know that I blew the budget this month. I just don't know by how much yet--that evaluation happens tonight over cold pizza and maybe even a beer. (They are leftover from a thing. My ulcer is back--oh joy!--and the beer may not be advisable. But it's sooooo tasty...) Moneywise I suspect I did pretty well, but not great. It all goes wrong for me due to the following:
  • I like eating out too much. Lean Cuisines don't always hack it for lunches, and sometimes a girl wants a 1,700 calorie burrito.
  • I finally broke down and paid for a lifetime Digital Blasphemy membership, because I love the artwork: very inspiring fantasy landscapes. I've been meaning to do it for five years, as I have mooched much free artwork from the site.
  • I also bought just enough purple DK weight bamboo-wool yarn to make the Bloody Stupid Johnson hat. I'm on a serious Pratchett kick right now and am rereading all the books.
  • The final kicker? Netflix started up again unexpectedly.
This means I'll spend the first two weeks of March knitting my hat, watching Torchwood, changing my desktop wallpaper, and eating condiments. Pepper jelly on Cheerios, anyone?

Swap box to the rescue!

On the knitting front, my square for the Pratchettgan (link to photos on Flickr) is complete! I'm a member of the Terry Pratchett fan group on Ravelry, and we decided to knit Mr. P an afghan to keep him cozy while writing and to show our love and support after his recent early-onset Alzheimer's diagnosis. Here it is, straight from the pages of Night Watch:

I was feeling punk earlier this week; tired and low. Swap box to the rescue! I finished my Super Secret Swap Thing and will post pictures once I'm sure my swap partner, Sputnik, has received it. Hee hee. (More on the swap and again with the Terry Pratchett fan group on Ravelry: someone suggested a swap. For the noobs, that means you get assigned a total stranger based on your responses to a survey--ours was Pratchett-themed--and then you put together a box full of fun surprises and mail them to said stranger. I had a great time picking out stuff to send to Sputnik, and tying those things into Discworld was a good opportunity to let creative juices flow.)

I was working on Dad's Christmas socks, but totally f&*%ed them up and had to frog back to before all the increases. I think it's a sign. Dad irritated me this week with his less-than-enthusiastic response to my brother Mike's big news: he and girlfriend Maggie are moving in together in June! (I am so excited for them it's scary.) So maybe knitting something for him that requires patience, love, and teeny tiny needles is perhaps not the best idea right now...I'll wait for my irritation to pass then hop back on the Dad sock wagon. Instead I'm into Erin's Christmas armwarmers, which are black, rotating rib, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and super soft. Plus aran weight. Much happier with that.

I have no plans this weekend, which is weird--I almost always have plans. I'm thinking I may need to raid the Crumpet Shop once again for a bottomless tea and scone with gooseberry preserves. It's a good place to knit, fun to people watch, and the cute Crumpet Shop guy recognizes the girls and me now when we come in. What more can I ask for? It might even be sunny, like it has been EVERY DAY for the last week and a half! Very non-Seattle weather...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

On pizza

I am very particular about pizza. While I have eaten just about any kind of pizza, from the very good (real NY style--in NY!) to the lowliest of soggy cardboard (Pizza Time, anyone?), I made an executive decision about a year back: Life is too short to eat lousy pie.

This means I get a lot of pizza from Piecora's. Their pepperoni and mushroom is a fave, as are the Sweet Italian and Jeffro's Veggie pies. The problem is the price--it costs my entire weekly fun onye budget for one. Papa Murphy's is good in a pinch (and within the budget), and they do have the Perfect Pizza (half pepperoni, half ham & pineapple). Sometimes even Domino's or Pizza Hut will fit the bill--especially if Cassie and I split one.

The real winner now, however, is Trader Joe's. They sell pizza crust, just waiting to be made into the pizza of your dreams. Plain, whole wheat, and garlic & herb varieties, no less. They also sell cheap goat cheese and prosciutto so you can make a fancypants pizza. I have a pizza stone I inherited from my mom, and now I have good pizza whenever I want--also healthier too.

Green, Cheese and Ham (A.K.A. Jen's Current Favorite Pizza)
1 TJ's herb & garlic crust
3 TB olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp each dried oregano and red pepper flakes
1 bag TJ's organic arugula (will make 2 pizzas)
1 pack prosciutto (has 6 slices or so)
1 16oz mozzarella, sliced into little circles.

1. Blend olive oil, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes until a paste is formed. Let sit overnight (or as long as possible).
2. Pre-heat the pizza stone in the oven and prepare crust according to directions.
3. Place crust on stone and pre-bake for 7-10 minutes, puncturing any bubbles that form.
4. When crust is, well, crusty, spread olive oil mixture. Add half bag of arugula, mozzarella, and prosciutto. Cook until cheese is meted and crust is done, about 7-10 more minutes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Travel, wishlist, and budget, AKA "Where the hell did January go?"

My January flew by--how about yours?

That is me and my wee-est friend, Joe. He likes watching the Muppet Show and bowling, and delights in motorized vehicles. Matchbox cars rock his world. He thinks I'm cool, which is pretty great, cause he has taste.

I went to Eugene over MLKing weekend to visit my best friend Erin, her husband Stu, and little
man J. We had lots of fun: playing Wii games (it's all about the bowling for the small dude), shoe shopping for a tot (Dragonfly tennis shoes?!? Why don't they sell them in my size?), surviving The Maul (trying on bras and Euporia truffles--the first necessitates the second).

Saturday night Joe went to daycare movie night and we headed out for Thai food.

Well, mostly Thai food. Erin hovers protectively over the giant bowl of booze. It was comprised of rum, rum, fruit juice, rum, fresh fruit, and rum, and the little thing in the center was on fire when it came to our table. I turned into a rummy drink vampire:

Then we went to Barnes and Noble, where I ruthlessly flirted with the cute book boy who was a Terry Pratchett and Christopher Moore fan, and then we were all tired and went home. By 9:30. Other big excitement that weekend: having raclette for the first time (yum!) and yarn tourism in Eugene. So I know I claimed to be on a "no yarn" thing for 2008, but tourism yarn doesn't count as much. Because it's a souvenir that I happen to be able to knit with, and it has to be something I can't get at any of my eight LYS-es, and I was in Oregon which has NO STATE SALES TAX....Are you sold yet?

Got this lovely stuff at The Knit Shop:

Yes, it's Malabrigo laceweight, and yes, technically I can get that here. But not in this color. ;) The Knit Shop has a wall of wool and a wall and row plus of cotton and cotton blends. Definitely a good place to go if you like knitting with cotton. Prices were comparable to Seattle.

At Soft Horizons Fibre, I picked up two skeins of Plymoth Happy Feet and some Brittany DPNs, size 2.5--neither of which I can get locally:

So it was a great trip, I got to spend loads of time just chatting and BSing with my best friend, and that's about all you can ask for.

The January budget update: I managed to stay mostly within my budget! I spent a little more than I had intended, but did not hemorrhage money like I usually do, I paid all of my bills on time or better, AND I resisted several purchases that I would not have previously.

Last but not least, because I can never think of what I want for my birthday/Christmas when asked I've decided to add my wishlist to the blog to keep track (for those of you who care).

My current wishlist:
Panini grill (this one looks pretty fab)
Raclette set (like this spiffy number)
Blocking board (the bigger the better)
Sock blockers (hoping my dad could maybe make some for me)