Week in Review: 22-28 July 2018

Yes, I’m back. I’ve taken an assessment of all that I have going on in my life and decided that blogging can fit in. A few things got taken off my plate to accommodate it (regular letter-writing, most notably) and I’m pretty confident I’ll be sticking with this for awhile. So, let’s get going, shall we?

Life of Lizzie

This week, she picked up a habit of saying, “Get it?” Except she’s not using the typical application of saying it after a joke that didn’t land well, but for just about any declarative statement. “I had a Popsicle today. Get it?” “I want to wear this dress today. Get it?” Once I figured out it didn’t mean she had tried to make a joke, it made everything make much more sense.

The non-allowance allowance experiment continues. This last week, we owed her two week’s worth, $8, and she decided to spend it on the fish-catching came that I remember from when I was a kid. Turns out, it’s pretty hard for her so she quickly forbid Matt and I from playing and chose to play it by herself for quite awhile the day she got it. I need to encourage her to try again so she doesn’t forget about it entirely. Maybe we’ll even be allowed to play with her again.


On Thursday night, I took her out for a special “date” so she could have extra time with me before I was gone for the weekend. (More on that later.) The original plan was to wander around the toy section at Target then go to Chick-fil-a. We did wander Target very, very slowly. After she got her game, she insisted we get 1) Cheerios – “they’re for the weekend” and 2) crazy-shaped Annie’s boxed mac and cheese. I will admit I pushed her to the mac and cheese rather than going out as I’d had Chick-fil-a for lunch and it was going to start pouring soon.


(Yeah, that’s her feet under a toilet stall door. She does this anytime I need to do my thing, to make sure she stays close. Very literal interpretation of “I need to be able to see your feet.” I try not to think about the fact she’s got her face pressed up against the door.)

On the Needles

Most of my week was spent knitting – then pulling out and re-knitting the Campside shawl from Alicia Plummer in Berroco Ultra Wool DK in the Heather colorway. More about what happened with the first attempt in a bit. The second attempt is going really well and I’ve only got the final pattern of eyelets then the ribbed border to go. This will be given to a coworker who enjoys a muted color palette – and is opening her house to our team to watch Spaceballs next Friday.


I’ve also made a tiny bit of progress on the Vestigial socks in Neighborhood Fiber Company Studio Sock in the Parkland colorway. I like the pattern plenty but haven’t been in much of a sock mood. These will be my on-the-go project next week so I can make some real progress towards completion. The recipient lives here so obvious doesn’t need them for quite awhile but I hate having something hanging over me like this. (I’ll post a pic next week.)

Adventures and Discoveries

Yesterday, we went to DC for the first time in months to see a special exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. Lizzie was very impatient on the walk from Archives to the museum but happily walked through the exhibit with Matt on Dutch paintings of watercraft. (I stayed in the courtyard and knit on the socks in peace.) We were all very hungry at that point, so we went to b DC, a burger place. Lizzie didn’t eat almost any of her mac and cheese, but Matt and I really enjoyed our burgers and sides (tater tots for me, truffle fries for him). She really wanted to see the butterfly exhibit at the National History Museum but the line to get in was, no kidding, two blocks long. Guess everyone else was happy to finally be out of the house, too. Amd, you know, tourists. We promised her we’d get back to see them in the fall. I, of course, was too busy sweating and avoiding people to take any photos.


Oye. Ugh. Sigh.

Several things didn’t go so great this week.

My trip to Cleveland for a friend’s baby shower got cancelled due to a traffic control issue and no available flights that would get me there in time. I got a refund and immediately spent the money on a new watch and sock yarn from Miss Babs. Thankfully, I found out hours before I went to the airport and the United folks were great in trying to help me fix things.

It rained almost all week. Lots and lots and lots of rain. The immediate issues of cabin fever, getting soaked, and needing to carry an umbrella everywhere were easily dealt with. Harder was the water that came into our basement and wet our carpet when the outside drain was clogged with dirt. Thankfully, our cleaning lady discovered it after a few hours so we were able to unclog the drain, get the water up with a shop vac, and finish drying it out with a fan pretty quickly.

And I pulled a very Angela move at one point and left my badge inside my work area when I went out of it to use the restroom. Thankfully, someone was coming out very soon after who went and got my badge from my desk for me. I almost never take the thing off, too.


A Better Me

This was week two of my combination Weight Watchers restart and gluten, dairy, and soy elimination diet. Almost no headaches, at last! No real signs of improvement, health-wise but it’s only two weeks in. Lost 3.6 pounds since last Sunday. Had some issues actually eating enough points; turns out most of my points before were eating all the cheese and bread. This whole thing resulted in a few great culinary discoveries: almond-milk lattes, spicy eggplant dip, rediscovery of yumminess of Mojo chicken on the grill, Wegmans chicken tortilla soup.


On Tap

  • Kid’s birthday party at the community pool
  • DC Pen Show,
  • Likely shawl FO and Vestigial socks FO


Have a great week!

First I was sick, then saw a waterfall

I had all sorts of plans for last week. I was going to write up a whole bunch of posts about my recent knitting and what’s been going on in my life that’s not knitting-related. Then, Tuesday morning, I woke up with an extremely sore throat. But, after several Sudafed-loopy days, I am feeling quite a bit better and back to bring you fresh! creative! posts!

Ok, probably nothing all that interesting, just what you’ve come to expect: self-deprecating humor, knitting project summaries, and some words-only list posts.

But, first, some photos of a little excursion we took yesterday, the first day I was really feeling like myself. After a quick check of the SunsetWx set, Matt recommended we switched out our normal evening routine for dinner out followed by a trip to Great Falls for sunset. The forecast was correct, it was a nice sunset and not too warm/not too cold outside. I knit and entertained Lizzie, he did his photography. All of the photos below are mine from my phone; he takes way too long to post his.

Market Morning

My parents are visiting and wanted to spend some time with Lizzie by themselves. We took the chance to enjoy a slower trip to our favorite farmer’s market. We wandered through, bought some meat and veggies and fruit (and I picked up a bag of decaf coffee). It was the perfect, relaxing start to what became a very busy day of shopping and a visit to a local Spring festival.

Does your town/city have a farmer’s market? Is it year-round or seasonal? What sort of things are sold there?

Harper’s Ferry

Whenever my parents come to visit, I’ll admit that I struggle to find things to do with them. I know, it’s pathetic. We live only like 15 minutes from DC – the land of free museums. But they’re not really museum people and I’m in the city more than enough that it’s not particularly special. This time, though, we drove over to Harper’s Ferry, to the main part of the park which I think is technically in West Viriginia. It was really gorgeous that day, mid-60s with just-changing leaves. We even found a great place to get lunch (thanks to TripAdvisor). Really highly recommend my local DCers visit.


Fall in Virginia

It was beautiful out yesterday and I took Matt’s suggestion to take Lizzie to the park near our house. It’s got two little play sets plus swings and a zip-line type thing. She had a blast, running around, climbing up, going down slides, learning how to pump her legs while swinging, and doing lots of giggling as she hung out with a new little friend. She played, I tried to keep her from killing herself and admired the beautiful colors all around me, in the shady park.

I really enjoy living somewhere where fall is actually a thing. Not Florida’s version which just means slightly cooler weather and the mosquitoes are gone (though I loved that part of it). Not California’s fall which is finally-below-80 temperatures and onset of the – by comparison only – rainy season. The leaves actually turn colors here and fall to the ground. Temperatures play with you a little, but eventually get cooler and a jacket is no longer for just wearing in your freezing cold office (ahem).

Fall has come late this year, with only about half of the leaves having turned or fallen. We even had a day with the temps nearly hitting 80 last week. I can be patient, though, because it is just so beautiful when it gets here.

(Yes, she is wearing a dress. I asked her to put her pants back on and it was almost 70 so my “you’ll be cold” argument fell flat. Fight your battles, particularly when it comes to prep to go to the park.)

(Okay, that last picture has nothing to do with Fall but I couldn’t resist posting it because I took basically the same photo last year and she looks SO BIG in comparison. Also, she rocks shades.)

Reunion 2016

For the last five years, a couple folks in Matt’s extended family have planned a reunion. There’s a ton of us, but that’s what you get when you start with two people who had seven kids who then each had ~3 kids who are now, well, our age (oldest cousin is in her 50s, youngest is 26). We live all over – current locations include a set of missionaries in Tanzania, someone hiking the AT equivalent in New Zealand and folks in the more frigid part of the Midwest, but mostly in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The reunion has usually been at the family estate – okay, a medium-sized house on a few acres, owned by the aforementioned missionaries – in Delaware. Two years ago, it was at a park in Maryland because a cousin was married one weekend in June and, realistically, no one was going to come up/down/over twice in a single summer. This year, though, we did something entirely different. One of the uncles cashed in probably years worth of timeshare credits to get a handful of three-bedroom suits at a swanky resort near Williamsburg.

Some things were different, others the same. Having our own apartments meant we weren’t all together all the time – great for true introverts like Lizzie and Matt. Being at a resort meant a giant pool and putt-putt and, well, constantly available A/C. (The DE reunions were in the side/back yard of a family member and we tried to stay outside as much as we could so we didn’t elevate their electric bill any more than absolutely necessary.) We did breakfast and lunch on our own, with dinner together in a multi-purpose room in the main building.

While I get completely stressed people around people all of the time, these are some of my favorite people to be made to be stressed by. Wait, that sounds wrong. But you know what I mean. I had a really great time with them. I was so busy having fun, in fact, that the only photos I have are – mostly – when I was enjoying a bit of quiet between chaotic moments (which may have been happening right next to me).

We joked that they purposefully put our rooms as far from the common pool/activities as possible. This meant strolls over there a few times a day, plus a quick drive last night when it was pouring rain and none of us wanted to deal with that.

Some folks either catching up on one another’s lives or discussing the issues of the day.

Cousin’s kids playing cards (Uno?) after dinner and before the adults were ready to attempt bedtime routines.

They discovered the playground quickly. My own blonde blur really loved it.

Extra energy was also expelled via a large game of duck-duck-goose on the front lawn. At least one set of non-related children joined us.

The pool was probably the biggest hit of the weekend with both kids and adults.

Lizzie, unlike previous years, took to the water like it was nothing and totally crashed afterwards.

A rainy day wasn’t without fun, thanks to an uncle who brought two bags of craft supplies.

Cries of “We found a frog!” sent everyone running out to the back patio. This poor guy was hunted down by a the under-10 set mulitple times.

Do you guys have reunions? Are they fun or dreaded? Big? Small? What do you eat (because, well, you have to eat at a reunion)?

Restaurant Review: Momofuku CC|DC

Ever since Matt first read about David Chang, he wanted to eat his food. Chang grew up not far from him and is famous for combining Asian and Western flavors together. We’ve had his first cookbook, Momofuku, for a few years and have made a few of his recipes in the past. Then, last week, we were able to visit his DC restaurant: Momofuku Central City DC.

(Bear with me, as I’ve never done a restaurant review, other than a few short sentences on Yelp.)

What we ate

Daily special: Buffalo chicken biscuit – I’m not a fan of buffalo sauce so I didn’t try this but Matt said it was quite good. Biscuit was not quite good enough to eat by itself but served the sandwich well.

Sweet and spicy pork jerky: I really enjoyed this as it did balance the sweet and spicy rather well. It was not what you’d think of as jerky – bit more chewy and limp, but the same idea.

Rockfish with yuzu, bonji, Honeycrisp apples: Served crudo style. You can’t see from my blurry photo, but there’s a whole layer of thiny-slice rockfish (AKA striped bass) under the apple slices. This was absolutely the best thing I ate during the meal. I would happily order three of these next time.

Pork buns: We had to order these as Matt has made them multiple times from the recipe in Momofuku. They did not disappoint. Subtle dough with Hoisin – one of my favorite flavors – wrapping up pork belly.

(This is where I decided to give up on photos. The light outdoors had gone and, well, the food was too good to pause long enough for a photo.)

Momofuku ramen: Another must-order, based on Matt’s making of it from the recipe. This was the only disappointment of our meal. The broth was simply without flavor. The toppings – braised pork, pork belly, fish balls, nori, and soft-cooked egg – were as tasty as expected but isn’t ramen really about the broth?

Crack pie: I’m not even sure what this is made with, but it tasted mostly of cooked sugar. Tasty, tasty cooked sugar.

Cereal milk / fruity cereal milk ice cream: Both are quite sweet, in align with the pastry chef’s taste profile. We both preferred the fruity version to the other. They were fun but I much prefer a closer to savory dessert.

Atmosphere and Service

You sit at basic wooden tables and chairs in a well-lit area with simple art. It’s neither too loud nor too quiet; tables are a decent distance apart so you can still have a private conversation. Music is fun and eclectic but not distracting.

Service is casual but very attentive. You never had to wait for a dirty dish to disappear or a water glass to be filled. But, somehow, you also didn’t feel like you were being served, but helped by a friend.

Price to Quality Ratio

I won’t lie. It was not a cheap meal, but it was rather inexpensive for the high quality. You won’t leave here completely full without ordering quite a few dishes, but you won’t really care because it’s so tasty.

Would we return? Should you go?

I think Matt’s face says it all – and this was before we even ate anything. It was a wonderful experience, minus the ramen as I noted earlier. Fun, easy, tasty.

Park Traditions

We spent the weekend in Shenandoah National Park, one of our favorite places to visit. It’s only about two hours from the house to the northern entrance and has lots to see and do, no matter how much you may want to walk (even if that’s not at all). As we go about twice a year, we’ve got quite a few traditions for our visits.

We usually enter the park at the northern most entrance and make our way down to Skyland or Big Meadows, stopping at overlooks that seem appealing. This time, it was quite foggy as we drove in, so we skipped said overlooks.

We always take at least one short hike a day. Since Lizzie was born, she’s ridden in her hiking pack/carrier for this hike.

Her Grandpa came with us on our first hike. (Matt and he also went on another, as Lizzie napped under Mom-Mom’s watchful eye and I sat in the car and knit – stupid bum hip was acting up again.)

She also walked for a good bit of the hike, probably about a half of a mile of it. She loved when Matt found her this great walking stick.

Matt took lots of photos as we went and when we got to the destination, a small stream this time.

Matt typically has two blackberry sundaes a day. Lizzie, being very much his little girl, has a tradition of stealing some of each of those sundaes. This time, Mom-Mom was available to steal ice cream from.

Last night, we left Lizzie with Mom-Mom again for her bath and bedtime to find a great spot to capture the sunset. This was a tradition we carried over from our trips to Yosemite when we lived in California.

I can’t wait to get back there again in October, where we can continue these or make some new traditions.

Adventure in Two Parts – Part II

Sunday, we were a bit more local, in DC. After a very relaxing morning spent at home, we grabbed lunch at Tom Yum District then headed into DC.

Our first stop was the National Gallery of Art. We go there a few times a year, but given Lizzie’s brief attention span, don’t stay more than an hour. This time, we stayed for two, separating to see our favorite exhibits.

I took the awesome walkway/exhibit over to the East Building.

It’s under renovations, so only the sculptures are on exhibit. I hadn’t been over there in years, so it was neat to see.

After a bit, I headed back over to the West Building. I visited my favorite painting first, Two Women in a Window. (Of course, I didn’t take a photo of it, though you can see one here.)

I also admired some of the other works in the building.

After a quick drink at a bar nearby, we headed over to the Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum.

There was a really cool window at the top of one stairway.

Then it was time for dinner at Izakaya Daikaya (the upstairs part). Great Japanese-inspired small plates – favorites of the night were adobo poutine and miso-scented rice ball with pork.

It was great to really take advantage of an afternoon and evening to ourselves in DC, though I did keep wishing Lizzie was with us to enjoy parts of it, too.