Monthly Archives: February 2005

a couple of late night notes.

Good news! there are instructions for how to unshrink a wool sweater! This is v. important, because even I, the person so tall that she’s terrified to dry ANY of her clothes in the dryer, occasionally shrinks a sweater.

and also, how super is it that NJ has a Bureau of Sustainable Communities and Innovative Technologies? I ought to quit my silly empire state nonsense and really learn to love the garden state. Even if there’s about a zillion people there it really looks like they’re trying to do the right thing.

February Books

“post” posted post [posty mc posty post!] of books read in February 2005:

15. Secret Marriage by Kathleen Norris
16. The Boarding School Girls by Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya
17. Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey
18. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
19. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket
20. One True Love by Stephanie Doyle [Romance Novel]
21. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
22. Brick Lane by Monica Ali
23. Circling the Drain by Amanda Davis [short stories, CMU book club]
24. Wonder When You’ll Miss Me by Amanda Davis
25. For Matrimonial Purposes by Kavita Daswani [audiobook]
26. Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy
27. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket
28. The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket

I read 14 in January, 14 in February. Wow. Of course, there was a bunch of light reading (Lemony Snicket, Mercedes Lackey, Romance Novel) and also a plane trip at the beginning of February where I took 6 or 8 books on the plane, you know, just in case, and I read almost all of them.

I really loved the Katherine Norris books – they were pretty cutting edge, socially, I imagine, considering that they (I’m including the one I read in January were written in the early ’30s. I tried to find more of them at the PGH library and came up with a few more to read.

my crazy dinner last night

homemade tortilla chips (cut up corn tortillas, spray lightly with pam, broil until crispy).
homemade guacamole (just the avocado, lemon juice, and tomato).

main course:
water crackers
tin of sardines
~15 green olives.

maya gold chocolate.

graduate school and moving on

I was thinking this morning: there’s something so funny about being in graduate school. Everyone assumes you are driven and have a goal and know exactly what you want to study, but depending on what school you attend and who your advisor is your project may be in or out of your control, maybe what you want to study, or may be something that you’re funded for and that you’ll work on anyway. It’s a wild system, really.

that said, there’s been a job offer to me that requires a move to northern new jersey. I am going to take it despite the move from my newly beloved Pittsburgh. The job is primarily environmental engineering and hazardous waste cleanup, like designing site cleanup stuff. Which is something I’ve never done before and which I would be interested to learn. But most attractive is the potential to possibly work on sustainability. I’ve done a pretty exhaustive survey of people with an understanding of what I want to do and of the engineering market, and it seems that there probably isn’t the kind of potential of possible work here. So I’ll do the truly bizarre and put my career first and move away from here, even though I’m not necessarily interested in leaving 1. Michelle and 2. Pittsburgh. Le sigh. being a grownup is truly hard, and it’s no fun to make a decision and to feel crappy about it. Especially when I know if I had this job offered to me and it didn’t require relocation I would totally jump at it, and be so happy and excited I had the opportunity.

(I know everything will work out smashingly. It’s just there’s a big bump called “moving” in the road that I have to get over first!)

Semi-Regular Crafty Retreat 2005

Last weekend I went to a Crafty Retreat in the Catskills. I don’t have a lot of pictures yet (not like the last time but there is this one gem, us in height order:

We had so much fun. We ate and crafted and cooked and made smores and crafted and chatted and crafted. I am a fool, and brought 3 projects and didn’t finish any. My socks? still working hard on them. If by working hard you mean “occasionally during lunch or while watching tv.” I also started a lace project using a yarn that contains chinchilla fur! It’s the hearts and rosebuds scarf. Because you know what’s smart? starting a new project before you’ve finished an old one. riiiight.

It snowed Sunday night late, and it was tough to get out of the Catskills. But it was beautiful. I had a great time with my girlfriends!

Sharp Edge

Last night I ordered the fish sandwich from The Sharp Edge Beer Emporium. It’s hard for me to write The Sharp Edge, because since before I moved to pittsburgh I have been calling it the sharper image for fun. Because it IS fun.

Anyway. Last night the fish sandwich was the simple choice to make. It came on a toasted kaiser roll, no lettuce or tomato or sides (like fries), and my choice of cocktail or tartar sauce. As if there were a choice! Fish sandwiches are really just a great mechanism to get tartar sauce into my body. Sort of like bagels and cream cheese. The price is $6.50. There were two fish patties with a nondescript crispyish breading. Each patty was about 4 inches wide and 4 inches long but triangular, and about 1/2 an inch thick. I stuck both onto the roll, loaded up with tartar sauce (I had to request more), smashed the whole thing together, and dug in.

The sandwich was good, but not superfantastico. The breading was a nice texture added to the fish but it really wasn’t a match for the fish itself. I was really surprised at how flakey the patty was and the breading didn’t do much to hold it together. It was good, but kind of messy. At one p0int I got fish flakes down the sleeve of my sweater.

This is a solid middle of the road fish sandwich choice, but by no means the best I’ve had. It rates better than “not gross” but I wouldn’t say it is so great that it precludes trying one of the other sandwiches at the sharper image. I mean Sharp Edge. Right.

McDonald’s Fillet-o-Fish Sandwich

Yesterday during my long drive home I stopped to get some coke and decided to also try the McDonald’s Fillet-o-Fish Value Meal. I’ve never had one, and thought I might as well. Fish blog, you know? it’s a great incentivizer!

The sandwich comes on a regular hamburger bun, with cheese and tartar sauce. The box says it’s whitefish and there’s a picture of a scuba-diving girl on the top. The patty is not crispy at all, but I couldn’t tell what the breading was made of (cardboard? maybe.) And, it’s square, on a round bun, which reminds me of wendy’s. The patty is about 4 inches square. There’s a lot of tartar sauce (which is a plus), and it seemed extra pickley to me.

The sandwich is not bad, really. It’s not fantastic, but if you’re strapped for fish sandwiches you won’t be too upset. I really would have liked it a lot more if it was crispy. But the lenten season promo cost of $2.99 for the entire meal really can’t be beat.

As it is, the verdict on the Fillet-o-Fish is “Not Gross.” I think that sums up the experience particularly well.

last weekend and this weekend

This is a couple of v. busy weekends for me!

Last weekend Michelle and I (and Johanna) drove to NYC. There were as many good reasons as there were people in the car: a CD release party, a “Valentine’s Day” dinner, and a non-Valentine’s day party (Johanna’s brother celebrates the best holiday [thanksgiving] on the worst holiday [valentine’s day]). So the three of us set out at 6:30ish and after a fortuitous oil check and an even more fortuitous refilling of oil, we got to NYC around 12:30. Not bad. It was a long drive, but then, isn’t it always?

The weekend was fantastico, I had a nice time on Sat. with the Mister helping a friend move, and then taking a nap, and then having dinner (asparagus risotto! yum!). And then a nice and late night time at the CD release party and with good friends and partners in crime (i.e., Gabulo! the Tree of Birns!) and we when I say a late night time I mean SO LATE and SO FUN but too many gin and tonics, resulting in 1. missed train and 1. slightly uncomfortable drive home the next day. Even though we stopped at Cracker Barrel.

This weekend I am going to start tomorrow: I have an interview in Northern NJ tomorrow afternoon, so I leave bright and early in the morning. And I want to have dinner with my girlfriends that evening, and see The Gates on Friday. And then there is a costume party on Friday Night at the Mister’s, and then on Saturday I’ll be leaving early to drive up to the Catskills for the Old Skool East Coast Glitter Retreat Part 2! It’s going to be fantastically wonderful. I’m bringing my sock, a lace scarf, and my unfinished skirt. I’m driving home on Monday and will go straight to a book club meeting. Excellent.

January Books

I have had a CRAZY month for reading books. In January I read 14! Of course, a large part of that is b/c I have been “looking for a job” and staying up late reading, and also, I flew to TN to visit Gramma and brought 7 books with me. (The last plane trip I took I ended up running out of books, and I did NOT want that to happen again!)

I do keep a paper book journal, and here is a list of what I’ve read:

1. The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey
2. The Serpent’s Shadow by Mercedes Lackey
3. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
4. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
5. The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey
6. The Reptile Room by Lemoney Snicket
7. Speechless by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout
8. Joust by Mercedes Lackey
9. Alta by Mercedes Lackey
10. The Cartier Project by Mina Mazzini
11. Full Speed by Janet Evanovich and charlotte Huges
12. 10 Pound Penalty by Dick Francis
13. An Honest Life by Dana Corbit
14. Wife for Sale by Kathleen Norris

Of course, I am still VERY CRAZY with the reading. I only have 7 books checked out currently, but I was flirting with 20 last week. It’s gotten to the point that when I go to the library I am NOT allowed to take out books (which is very hard!) because I have so many on reserve and at home — I have 8 more books requested (and quite a few CDs, I have really fallen in love with requesting CDs).

I have so many books at home because when I flew to TN I wandered through the library and managed to check out 6 or 8 books. I wanted books that were paperbacks and not too heavy for the plane, so I just grabbed a bunch of things that looked interesting and sorted out what to carry with me that evening. And now I have a few books left over from that to read, plus a couple of non-fictions that I had requested.

February looks like it may shape up to be another crazy month for reading, already I’ve read 8 books. Goodness gracious.

1st Fish Sandwich Review! From the Squirrel Cage

Last night the Lovely Michelle and I went to The Squirrel Hill Cafe, aka The Squirrel Cage, on the corner of Forbes Avenue and Murray. On the menu were TWO fish sandwiches: the Extra Large Sandwich (or something like that) at $3.95 and the Jumbo Fish priced at $4.95. I asked the waitress what the difference was and she told me the Extra Large Sandwich was breaded, and the Jumbo Fish was in a beer batter. So the Lovely Michelle and I both picked the Jumbo Fish.

The piece of fish is about 9 inches long, and triangularly shaped, with a 3-4 inch butt going to a 1 inch point on the other end. My sandwich was served with a cup of tartar sauce, lettuce, and tomato (I asked for these), and was on a hoagie roll cut neatly in half. It came with chips. They also offered me cocktail sauce, but they DON’T have malt vinegar at the Squirrel Cage.

The beer batter was good, but I have to admit, by the time I got to the end of the sandwich it had gotten a little gummy on the bottom. I’m not sure how well this would reheat if you didn’t finish it all in one sitting. But I would totally recommend this sandwich: the price is right, the size is big, and they’re generous with the trimmings (the tomato was the reddest I’d seen in quite some time!).

I was thinking last night: should I have some kind of cheesy rating system? like, 2 fins up, or something? the whale spout of approval? Ha! Now, THAT would be something.

updated styles

so, I’m really looking for a job, and by looking for a job I mean “uploading a new style to the ol’ blog.” I’m trying out something called kubrick which I really appreciated b/c of the horizontal buttons across the top. But I’m coming to accept that to make this look like what I want it to I’m going to have to hunker down and do some larnin’.

and I should keep this link handy for when I’m ready to prettify.


I was on the bus this morning standing next to two young men talking about binge drinking.

I didn’t really catch on for a while, but you know, I’m still new yorker enough to eavesdrop shamelessly, and once I heard the one with big hair and a small face say “yeah, when I get there I’ll just do five shots straight and then join the party. with a beer number 1 chaser, and then a beer number 2 chaser, and then a beer number 3 chaser, and then a beer number 4 chaser.” I had no idea that people planned binge drinking so carefully! True, I used to go to parties with tequila (carefully decanted into a rubbermaid drink container), lime, a salt shaker, and 2 shot glasses (it all fit so nicely in Gabulo’s purse), but that was less of a planned binge than a “I don’t like beer, and also for some reason people think it’s incredibly shocking and fun but in a totally respectful way that I do tequila shots” kind of thing. “I showed up and had five shots of jaegermeister. Is that 70 or 80 proof? anyway…”

So I’m standing there in the bus aisle, hanging on to a strap, and I thought “these whippersnappers!” and THEN I thought “heck, I am an old lady!” and then I thought “that’s fine. at least I don’t have to worry about adolescent alcoholism anymore. I’m so glad I’m not 19.”

And then I missed my bus stop because I was too busy eavesdropping and the bus driver didn’t open the back door. He said the back door only opens downtown. I should think not! Or maybe those are his personal bus rules.


The Boat! She is Missed!

I have missed the boat! If I had been a little more forthcoming and a little less good intentions, I could have posted a link to information in the fish sandwich blog here. Well, I won’t let this get me down. I heart fish sandwiches for THEMSELVES, and I’m glad to know others do too.

campus in the morning

I am still on campus while I wrap things up with the ol’ thesis, and also, while I take advantage of fast non-dialup internets to find a job. This morning I was walking down to my building and saw a man come running out of a door and dash down the path. He was a tall and skinny man, I guess lanky is the best way to put it, and he looked as if he were late to a meeting, loping across the green square with his zippered folder under his arm. The thick fog in the background this morning makes everything seem much closer than it really is, and I was happy to see the running man.

the year of knitting for ME.

I’ve noticed a lot of my friends seem to be knitting for themselves, which makes me feel PILES better about it. I am interested in only knitting for myself too, lately. I finished up a pair of voodoo wrist warmers that I MEANT to wear when riding my bike (nevermind that I haven’t really gotten back on that bike since it turned wet and chilly, despite my new and uninstalled fenders).

I have a charming eyelet skirt on the needles, and have had since summertime. I’m still working on the first 1/2 of it. It’s kind of slow going. It would be faster if I took it out of the bag more often.

When I was in TN I finished up a new pair of mittens. I had lost mine last winter, and needed a new pair badly! It went very well when I was visiting and gave me something to do with my hands.

Right now I’m working on a pair of Regia Ringel Socks. (the colorway I’m using isn’t on there exactly, but it’s greens and blues. They are going WONDERFULLY. I am so excited by how quickly they’re growing (especially now that I have finished the 1×1 ribbing at the top) and think I’ll walk over to the local yarn store today on my way home to try to purchase some plain black sock yarn so the heels aren’t stripy. It really is fun to see what colors come out of the skein next, and I have a seriously hard time putting the sock down. But it’s all for the best, because if I put it down I don’t want to have to worry about not picking it back up, no?

I am totally knitting away tonight. Maybe I’ll get to turn the heel!

Fish Sandwich blog notice!

I DO keep meaning to have a fish sandwich blog. Pittsburgh has got a lot of fish sandwiches, and I love them. There’s 2 best ways to eat fish, as far as I’m concerned: fried, or raw. I plan to carry a ruler with me and order and eat fish sandwiches in a methodical and scientific manner.

So far I have missed plenty of opportunities!
I have eaten fish sandwiches at:
The Union Grill
Fuel and Fuddle
and Eat’n’Park.

And passed up fish sandwiches at any NUMBER of places.
Hopefully this will be a better way to get reviewing.

another day, another non-dollar

I am sort of officially done with my thesis: done in the sense that my advisor said I had fulfulled my requirements, and as far as the dept. is concerned I’m done. I am still waiting for thesis review to finish up, and because it involves a committee (aka lots of people) I do not anticipate really finishing until the end of march.

that said, am getting ready for interviewing. today is my GET A JOB LEGWORK day, although I am sure I’ll substitute that for FOOL AROUND ON THE INTERNET day. will do my best to stand firm. mostly firm. Everytime I look at this unfinished WP page I want to get everything right and shiny and pretty on karinajean. I flew to tennessee and back last week and thought “if I had a laptop this airport time would be PERFECT for website fixing.” Instead I read 7 books. I am a beast when it comes to book finishing! I wish I could get a job doing THAT.