Thursday, March 29, 2007

At peace at last with (some) sushi

I have never liked sushi. Well, back up a step. I've never been a big fish person. I grew up in the midwest, and the only fish my mom ever served was breaded and square (or in fish stick form). Maybe occasionally tuna salad. When I was feeling exotic I'd order a clam roll at the Howard Johnson's. When I moved to New England, I tried a clam roll at a seaside seafood shack. Eek! That day I learned the difference between clam strips and clam bellies.

When I started working at my current place of employment, many of my coworkers were sushi fanatics. They would pool their money and have a big sushi lunch once a week, taking over our common kitchen space. I used to resent this because of, oh my word, the smell. I couldn't even be in the same room and had to eat lunch at my desk on those days. When going out to dinner with friends, I would state "I'll eat anything but sushi."

About a year ago my visiting Californian father-in-law volunteered to pick up dinner. He brought, well, you know. Trying to be polite, I picked apart a veggie roll and ate the rice and avocado. The smell I associated with sushi was still there, though, so I didn't eat much. I figured that it was the nori wrapper that I found off-putting. Fast forward to a few months ago...I was looking for a quick healthy lunch at Whole Foods and walked by the Asian section. I found some non-nori sushi - wrapped in spinach leaves instead, yay! I paid for my purchase and opened the box, but whoa! The smell. What the heck *was* that? At last I realized - it was the pickled ginger. The stench that drove me from the lunch table was not the sushi itself, but the large mounds of pickled ginger that ringed the 120-piece platter. It was my Eureka moment. I love regular ginger, but this stuff? Huh-uh.

Am I now a sushi omnivore? Um, no. There's still the fish, especially the raw fish, thing to overcome. But I will happily go have sushi with you and eat my California roll, my veggie roll, my chicken teriyaki roll, and my inari. Just keep the pickled ginger far, far away from my nose. And overlook the fact that I might poke out some of the cucumber from my roll before eating it. Oh, and I've learned that some of the sushi from Trader Joe's comes with the ginger in its own hermetically-sealed pouch. Stink-free! And TJs has awesome wasabi-tamari almonds, but I digress.

Cute kid story - we had lunch last Saturday at Mr. Sushi, and the kids got bowls of Udon noodles (guess what I had). The soup was very hot and they were hungry, so I fished out noodles with my chopsticks and dangled them into their little waiting maws, one by one. When Z wanted a noodle she'd say "Mommy Bird, another worm please!".

Next time, some knitting news - finished socks, hats, and possibly a pillow.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Unexpected things I found in my purse this morning

1. Son's Nintendo DS. The Mario keyfob was sticking out of my purse and looked very fetching.
2. A pair of preschool-size cotton socks, worn.
3. Most of a ball of Cascade fixation and a size 3 circular needle. (Now I remember: I hastily packed these long ago when I took the kids to the McDonald's PlayPlace and needed something to do to keep my sanity)
4. Minutes from two meetings last week that I should have already typed up and sent out.
5. My recently-expired AAA card.
6. One small yellow rubber duck.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Wee gifties

Made a few little gifts over the past few weeks. I had been working on some Cozy Cable Socks for my eldest sister, and had finished only one before we went to visit her for a ski weekend. Just as well, as the cabling made the sock too tight to get over her foot (though it fits me). So, I had to quickly whip up something else, and made her this little Cotton Chenille washcloth/puff to match her zinnia shower curtain:

Was only slightly disheartened to receive this question from her in email:
>I'm afraid I need to ask you what the beautiful "flower" you made me is for :)
On the bright side, she thought it was way too nice to be a washcloth.

Next, thanks to some sneaky outreach from his lovely separated wife, I learned it was Neilochka's birthday! I've enjoyed reading his blog for some time now, so I knit a Mason-Dixon ball band washcloth to match his purple bathrobe of indeterminate origin:

I used the extra Valley Yarns' Stockbridge that I will not be needing to finish the cable socks to make a Santa Cruz hat from MagKnits, but even with blocking it still barely reaches the tops of my ears. If I can't find a worthy recipient maybe I'll just keep it and wear it as a "feminine yarmulke" at temple. I do think it still looks kinda cute as a decorative Juliet-cap kind of hat, but it might be a little young for me. I'm also trying a Point Lobos hat from the same designer, but I'm going to add an extra pattern repeat. Photos of those another time.

Oh, and just for laughs - here's the aftermath of when Z covered her hair with yellow Silly Putty at preschool in an effort to look like SpongeBob. It took two hours, half a can of Pam cooking spray, and much of our TiVo's backlog of SpongeBob episodes for me to coax the stuff out of her hair, bit by bit.