Sunday, December 31, 2006

What we've been up to...

Today it's been a ton of light and crispy waffles with berries (or not, whichever you prefer), undecorating the tree and putting together kidlet's work/tool table. Kidlet and I went calendar shopping where calendars were already 50% off. Seems like they are giving up a little early. It's not even 2007 yet and the calendar prices are slashed. I'm not complaining though.

Now every is napping and I'm getting ready to do a little knitting. I made a half-assed attempt at getting a photo of it but it was too blurry with the overcast day combined with my very dark and cold house. I've been working on a scarf out of Crystal Palace Merino Stripes. The colors are lovely. The yarn leaves a little to be desired, however. There's a central thread that runs throughout the yarn and the wooly bits sometimes separate, leaving you only with the skinny thread. I've only got one stitch that I missed this happening on but it's not really noticeable. The yarn is soft and lofty and I'll enjoy the scarf nevertheless. The pattern is from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, "Yo, Drop It". You'd think I'd be thoroughly done with lacy-ish scarves after the last project. But I'm digging it since it's a quick knit and it gives me time to figure out a pattern for my bunny toy I'm going to try next and decide where I'm going to get the proper sized Addi Turbos for the circular sock knitting (the LYS only had 40" length). Although I'm seeing on the LYS's website the coveted needles exist, but now I'm babbling...

Kidlet with her party hat for our "New Year's Eve Living Room Picnic". I'm already starting to feel that must-clean-out-everything-for-the-new-year feeling gathering up strength.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Reflections on New Year's Past

My New Year's celebrations have generally been subdued. When I was little, it seemed like either Casablanca or Top Hat were always on the t.v., instilling my love for old films early. We'd also watch Nebraska kick some booty in the Orange Bowl. These were happy, simple times. When I got to the post-high school years, my friends and I would go downtown for the big countdown. It was always a big let down. I always wanted something magical to happen, to be swept off my feet and do something glamorous. I wanted the ringing in of the new year to instantaneously clear out any of my bad juju and make way for excitement. I guess I got a slight glimpse of what I wanted when I moved to New Orleans with the hubby (then boyfriend, tee hee!). We both worked in high-class restaurants so we never got the big smooch at midnight, but we'd get to see fancy-pants rich folks spend the holiday in 'style', spending gobs of cash. I was manager-on-duty/hostess which meant I had to attempt to keep my hard-drinking waitstaff sober enough to finish the night. This also meant I had to work till 4 in the morning doing inventory, the pain of which was softened by me making my inventory a little smaller (one beer for the inventory, one beer for me). It was better when I started cooking and got to leave at a (more) reasonable hour. We always thought New Year's was for drinking amateurs (just like Mardi Gras, Saint Patty's and Halloween) so our gang of friends would just go home early.

Now I usually spend the holiday snug at home with an old movie (usually "After the Thin Man"). Back to the happy, simple times, eh? Hubby is still in the restaurant biz (for just a little while longer, hang in there, Boo!) so it'll just be kidlet and me. We'll eat tuna melts and chips. I'll have a little champagne. I'll probably fall asleep before midnight so here's a toast to y'all...

"Here's champagne for your real friends and real pain for your sham friends".

Remember to eat fish first thing New Year's Day. The wise, old Latvians say it will bring wealth in the new year. I'm still waiting, but I can't fight the wise, old Latvians so I'll continue the tradition.

Postscript...sad about those restaurants that we both worked at being closed. Damn hurricane.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Holiday in Photos

My birthday cupcakes and a chocolately kid.

The scarf I made for my Mama for Xmas. Pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (this was not knitted in the last minute). I had a really hard time getting any sort of photo of this.

The amazing No-knead bread. So dang lovely and perfect. Made for the smorgasbord.

A photo taken by Ruby on her new Fisher Price Camera that she got for Christmas. I got a teacup and lots of fancy tea (among other lovely things).

Us, hanging out under a bridge on the river on Christmas day. Don't you hang out under bridges on Christmas?

My Baby. I saved up for more than half, received some Xmas cash and promptly joined the hoards of shoppers on this Boxing Day.

Can't wait to figure this thing out. Oh yes.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Five Random Things...

about me since my birthday is tomorrow.

1--Shy. I'm quiet. My mom told me I'd get over it like she did when she hit her 30s, but I'm almost 8 years too late for that. That's ok, I now embrace my quiet nature instead of fight it. This whole blogging thing has been cool for this since I can ramble on without feeling immediately embarrassed in front of people. I only feel delayed dorkiness after I hit 'publish post'.

2--Unphotogenic. Maybe that's why I like taking photos. I can look perfectly normal but when the shutter snaps open, my face contorts into strange configurations. A good reason for me to never join the Self Portrait Challenge.

3--Oysters. My favorite food. Well, maybe sushi is my fave. Or fresh baked bread. Or pie. Or muffalettas. Or salt and vinegar chips.

4--List maker, extraordinaire. I adore making lists. I am constantly making lists. Lists of things I want to do, things I need to do, things I want to knit. I often will put things on my list that are super easy to accomplish, just so I can have the pleasurable feeling of crossing something off my list.

5--Lucky. I really do lead a charmed life. I have wonderful family close by, we're all healthy, I work for a company that does good things. I have a little roof over my head to call my own. I have a hubby, a daughter and two silly dogs that I couldn't love more. Things are good at age 37-almost-38.

I really wanted to make a cool birthday list like hula, but my brain is fried from the gift card madness at work. Tonight, kidlet and I are making cupcakes for my birthday tomorrow. Tomorrow, breakfast, hanging out all day and then sushi for dindins with hub. Alone! Alone with hub! Amazing! After sushi, pick up kidlet and then it's cupcakes and champagne. We'll be having a family smorgasbord Christmas eve followed up by Christmas morning at hubby's dad's place. Then nothing but relaxation until next Wednesday. Lovely, I tell ya. I hope you all have a peaceful holiday, full of laughter and warmth. I'll catch up with you when I'm older.

Monday, December 18, 2006

snow kid, sniffles and stress

snow kid
Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
Sorry about the sporadic posting. Work is seriously kicking my booty. Evil, evil. It's keeping me so busy that I'm barely getting enough time to get my holiday stuff together. Christmas cards? What? Oh, I'm supposed to send those? Right...maybe next week. Oh, it's too late then. Oh dear. Presents? Can I just put them in a pile and cover them with a sheet instead of wrapping them? Wouldn't that be more envionmentally-friendly? You get the picture and them some. And I'm sick. Go figure.

So for your visual entertainment, we have kidlet sporting her fluffy pink coat and her Biggy Wool scarf I whipped up. No fancy stichin', just cozy. And we sure need cozy with this wacko weather.

We had a mini storm this weekend that caught everyone (myself included) off guard. Late Saturday afternoon, the roads made the transformation to 'ice rink'. Everyone in town was invited to take their cars out and share in the skidding. A twenty minute trip took us almost 2 hours as we drove 10 mph home. There was a 30 car pile-up right by the base of our hill. I tiptoed my way through, made it 80% up the hill, and walked the rest of the way home (much to kidlet's delight).

Ok, back to my madness...hugs to all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Morning

Poking my head out the back door, I breathe in the fresh, cool air. I hear the breeze rushing through the leafless trees and gently swirling about my Dad's wind chimes. The sky is a deep blue. I am the only one awake.

Time for tea.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Five Things

...that have made me happy lately in this kookoo season.

1. Silence--I usually jump into the car and have the radio on. Usually it's NPR or if Kidlet is along, Muppet music or holiday tunes. But boy, who knew silence could be so good?

2. Belly Laughs--sharing a good ha ha with Kidlet or the hubby has been really helpful to release stress.

3. Giving--bought a toy for Toys for Tots this weekend and made a donation for the local SPCA.

4. Cooking--last week was a frenzy of onion soup, Morrocan vegetable stew, jambalaya. This week we have chili and soon, Pinkie's Brown Sugar Fudge. I swear you'll think you've gone to heaven if you eat this fudge. Not your average fudge.

5. Buying yarn. Ok. I wasn't supposed to but I really, really liked it.

Hope you are enjoying lots of happy things too.

The Dream of New Shoes...


Friday, December 08, 2006

If you don't dig knitting, don't bother reading this post where I'm gushing about Knitty

Holy cow! The new Knitty is up and yeeeooowwwza! I've always checked out Knitty but never was so taken with anything that I felt I needed to knit it. This issue, however, I want to knit it ALL.

Center Square--to learn fair isle techinques
Argosy--to learn entrelac
Corazon and Tiffany--mittens!
Sheldon--cute, cute.

The Monkey socks rule too, as does Cookie's hair (especially in the bottom photo). I sure do miss having wild hair. Right now, my hair is kind of "straggle bob".

Regularly scheduled posts to come later. Took some photos this morning that I need to work on tonight (along with my knitting).

Thursday, December 07, 2006


My heritage is Latvian. It's nice that Latvia is finally its own little country because my whole life, I've had to explain my name (Anita--no, it's not pronounced like the Spanish 'ah-neet-uh', it's 'ah-knit-tuh'. It's Latvian. Latvia is a Baltic republic that was once part...etc.). Having Latvia be its own country allows me to skip over the whole Russian occupation deal. This is why I just go by 'Ani'. But I digress...

Ever since I was a little kid, I've been eating these cookies. And since I'm on a phonetic pronunciation streak...'peep-pah-kooks'. They are thin little gingerbread cookies. My Dad's Mom used to make them with a hint of orange zest. I never got the real recipe from her but I found this one in a 1997 Gourmet magazine. I made some for my Mom's Mom a few years back and she smiled and nodded approvingly. Success! I love pleasing my Grandmother. You know you've done something right when you can make food that reminds your Grandmother of the old country, "just like what we used to have on the farm". I made some pickled beets at Christmas a few years ago that garnered the same reaction.

Kidlet was happy to help me make these. She pulls the chair up to the kitchen island and spends much time sifting the dry ingredients between her fingers. She was very helpful in the rolling and cutting process, "It's like Play-Doh!". And my favorite part is when I take them out of the oven, "Let me feel your hot hand!" She loves to feel the warm oven mitt. She snuggled right up to it and said, "I love your hot hand". Too bad I'm not a pro BBall player, sinking shots right and left and raking in the dough. Ok, that whole hot hand-dough connection was a stretch. Cookies...mmm...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Walk at the end of the working day

the end of work walk
Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
Sorry I've been a slacker at the posting. This is the beginning of my super crazy time at work because I am a gift card elf. Yes, you heard it, a gift card elf. The rest of the year, I'm a computer help desk person but in December, set your computer problems aside! Ani's activating gift cards for the masses! Six days a week! 80% of my day! Tedious! This has been part of my job description for about 4 years now and boy, I'm gonna be glad when it's no longer part of my job description (in February, when the system changes).

Ok, got that off my chest.

Let's see...what else have I been doing (or not)? Messing up my Xmas knitting for about the 8th time, started knitting a scarf for kidlet (photo to come upon finishing), not taking enough photos. I wish kidlet had chosen a fluffier yarn for her scarf. The yarn she chose is Rowan Big Wool in a mélange of pinkness. Being Big Wool, it makes for a pretty thick, stiff scarf.

I'm happy in my Xmas preparations/lead up. It truly was $50 well spent to figure out that I really need to step back and reexamine my state of mind about Xmas (see previous entry, if you missed it). We watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" this weekend. When I was little, I just dug Snoopy's wild decorating style and cute antics. I never caught the anti-consumer message (even though it bludgeons you over the head). Good stuff.

Ok, friends, I'd better get back to it...sorry this was a little bit scattered, but it's definitely an example of my mental state.