Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm Pasta Caring

Haha...that was punny.

Oh, and I have to post this joke...my Mom and I think it's hysterical. Fair warning: mom's come up with a theory that there's a gene on her side of the family that makes us more susceptible to puns than the average bear...this one will reliably keep us in stitches for a solid five minutes.

There was a king who lived on an island in the tropics. There were other kings on this island, and they were always feuding.

This king lived in a castle made of grass, made from the reeds and rushes found on the island.

In one of the battles with another king, this king stole one of his prize thrones and brought it home to his castle, where he put it up in the attic for safe keeping.

This throne happened to be made of stone, and was very large and heavy. That night, when the king was asleep, the throne fell through the roof of his bedroom, landed on him, killed him instantly, and destroyed the castle.

The moral of the story?

People who live in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones!

Oh, the mirth!

Update: Mom and Dad have posted some more puns in the comments - they're fantastic!

Ok, back to the pasta. I was off sick yesterday with a sore throat, and then went in to the office today. Whatever I had has gotten worse, and I was feeling pretty zonked by the end of the day. John was a model hubby and cooked some fantastic spaghetti sauce with zucchini and mushrooms. He sauteed the garlic in hot olive oil at the beginning, which gave it a really nice hint of smokiness.

I think I'll keep him. :)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Herrmann Socks and Flapjacks

When they were little, my cousins Ben and Willie had...sock issues. For some reason, neither of them could keep socks ON their feet. They always had them sort of flapping off the end of their feet. And then yesterday morning, I saw this:

Yep...James has Herrmann Socks.

Then, last night, after being at rehearsal all day, I was feeling really domestic. So I made a batch of flapjacks. These were supposed to have nuts in them but I lost interest half way through, so they're just oats, dried berries, sugar, butter and honey. Oh yum.

Oh, and James loved John's dice bag SO much that he asked me to make one for him - I think it came out REALLY well. He picked out the pirate fabric, which I lined with the extra pillowcase that I used to make lampshades.

He's Behind You!

Thursday night, I went to Pakenham to see Sandy in the village panto. They were doing Dick Turpin. In the spirit of all village pantos, Sandy was fantastic, a tree (prop) fell over, there was much forgetting of lines, and the audience got WAY too into singing the policemen's siren whenever the two cops (with battery-operated flashing blue lights on their hats) came on stage.

From wikipedia:
The form has a number of conventions.

* The leading male character (the "principal boy") is usually played by a young woman (although this tradition appears to be dying out).
* An older woman (the pantomime dame) is usually played by a man in drag.
* Risqué double entendre, often wringing innuendo out of perfectly innocent phrases.
* Audience participation, including calls of "look behind you!" (or "he's behind you!"), and "oh yes it is!" or "oh no it isn't!" The audience is always encouraged to "boo" and "hiss" the villain.
* A song combining a well-known tune with re-written lyrics. The audience is encouraged to sing the song; often one half of the audience is challenged to sing "their" chorus louder than the other half.
* The pantomime horse or cow, played by two actors in a single costume, one as the head and front legs, the other as the body and back legs.
* The good fairy always enters from the right side of the stage and the evil villain enters from the left. In Commedia Dell 'Arte the right side of the stage symbolized Heaven and the left side symbolized Hell.
* The members of the cast throw out sweets to the children in the audience

We always went to pantos when we lived in Peterborough - I remember thinking that they were pretty neat.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Magical Bag...

I was feeling the call of the sewing machine this evening - we didn't have a chance to start the curtains this afternoon.

So I made John a new dice bag for his Wednesday night gaming sessions. I think it's really cute - very wizardy. I got the pattern here.

It's all lined and everything!

And the outside:

With the

Saturday, February 17, 2007

StowmarKate does Stowmarket

First off, a big thanks to Liz for the awesome box of Girl Scout cookies. Samoas, no less. They arrived on Thursday morning and totally made my day! I've put them in the freezer to be eaten one at a time (they're so yummy when the caramel is all cold and crunchy...)

Secondly, I've added some RSS buttons over on the right - feel free to add me to your Google reader or whatever (or let me know if the buttons don't work or are annoying you). :)

John and I had our first James-free, illness-free, chaos-free Saturday in AGES. Leanne and Tracey were originally scheduled to come over for din but they've had an insane few weeks so we've rescheduled. Turns out Caroline and Ian are free tonight, though, and we've been trying to get together with them for weeks. Off we go!

We had a relaxing Leek & Potato night in last night - and then watched some *gasp* TV. We've discovered the joys of Friday night on BBC 2 - Jimmy's Farm followed by A New Year At Kew. Jimmy's farm is about Jamie Oliver's friend Jimmy, who set up a pig farm near us in Suffolk. And has a somewhat exciting time. A Year At Kew is all about the gardeners and botanists at Kew Gardens - it's surprisingly entertaining!

This morning we made pancakes (yum!), used up the last of our maple syrup that we bought in Vermont at Liz & Dan's wedding (sad!), and then went in to town. We had to confirm our flooring order for the new house, go to the library, and sort out some curtains for the study. We found these great pillows at the more expensive curtain store (where we ended up NOT getting a gorgeous asian red floral pattern for the study - it was going to be £400 for ONE window). They, surprisingly, match our green sofas of fun!

I also got an amazing bag of blue-ish ex-sample book fabric scraps for £3! Here are some of my faves:

Gotta love the monkeys...

I can't wait to start making stuff...there are so many random fun scrap projects floating around the internet.

While we were in town, we also found some great dining room chairs (v. comfy) and a really smart dining room table, both on sale. We've bought them, along with some much more reasonably priced curtains that we like just as much and a whole slew of curtain rods. They're holding everything until we move in, which is REALLY nice of them.

Off to dinner in I-town!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I Love Amy, Emily and John

The concert last night was amazing. John is the best hubby ever - we had the perfect evening. We realized at about noon that we were going to need to eat dinner somewhere...on Valentine's Day. Oh bother. I called some restaurants in Cambridge to see if they could fit us in before the concert, but no luck. One place said that he'd turned away 500 phone calls. Phew.

We were starting to think it was going to be a McD's evening, when one of the girls John works with suggested going to the Pizza Express in Bury at 5pm. Nobody in their right mind is eating then! We'd miss the rush hours getting out of Bury and into Cambridge, and still make the concert in time (the girls weren't on until 9 and they have a history of crap opening acts). So off we went- they had a table. But d'ya want to know who else is at Pizza Express at 5pm on Valentine's Day?

Think about it....

Yup, every member of the under-5 set (with parents in tow) within a 30 mile radius was there. And screaming. Loudly. As they ran around the restaurant.

Somehow John and I managed to block it out while we ate our pizza, which was v. lovely and made slightly more romantic by the rose on our table (intended for the people at the 7pm sitting without the toddlers, natch). Our waitress (whose first language is not English) wished us a "Happy Valentine's....evening!" as we left - she'd obviously heard people referring to it and assumed that the 'day' part was interchangable. Teehee.

Off we trundled to Cambridge, where we were still pretty early, so we went to Frankie & Benny's for a drink before the concert. By this point, it was nearly 8, so EVERYONE who was going out to dinner was out. It was a complete zoo but we managed to elbow our way to the bar.

By 8:15 we were at The Junction for the concert, listening to Catherine Feeny, who was surprisingly good! She's a transplanted Californian living in the UK, with a very Joni Mitchell - type sound. We were pleasantly surprised. :)

The venue's capacity was 750, and we were tickets 318 and 319 when we picked them up. It looked like there were about 450 people there - we were only about 4 rows from the stage (and 3 rows from the back), right in the middle. Amy and Emily seemed really psyched to be there - they played a lot of classics (Closer to Fine, Power of 2, Galileo, Virginia Wolf, The Wood Song, etc), and then a bunch of their new songs (Pendulum Swinger, Money Made You Mean, Little Perennials). Amy also did a rip-roaring rendition of Let It Ring, which is what I would consider to be the ultimate protest song. There was much Bush-bashing at the concert - these two don't feel any shame in saying how much they hate Bush. They were talking about how they want Hillary, Obama and Gore to be a triumvirate. Hey, it could happen.

Here's the pic I took with my cell phone - sorry the quality isn't stellar.

Overall, it was an amazing concert. It didn't have the 'we all know all the words to all the songs' energy of the NYC concerts that I've been to, but the Girls were visibly excited to be there and they were throwing everything in to the performance. They sounded really rested and their voices were great - Amy's was more of a rich baritone than it usually is and Emily didn't have the hoarseness that she can get after a long tour.

John found an interview with them on Wednesday's Woman's Hour on Radio 4: here's the link.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Indigo Girls prep

I'm a big IG dork. They're playing in Cambridge tomorrow evening and John and I are going, come hell or high water. I couldn't believe it when I saw that they were playing so close to us (it's only about 40 mins from the office - about an hour from Stowmarket). I would have gone if they'd been playing in London, Manchester...pretty much anywhere in the UK. Cambridge is perfect - we don't even have to take any time off work!

I'm listening to my Indigo Madness iTunes playlist...after about 40 minutes of it, John asked me to put my headphones on. Poor chap. I think there's going to be some Mellencamp on the way to Cambridge tomorrow night to offset the estrogen of the evening. I love the crowds at IG concerts - it's usually about 90% female, with the occasional tortured husband/boyfriend/random gay support buddy brought along for moral support. I've been to see Amy and Emily with Colby peeps, my mom (twice!), Emily, and Meade, but never John. I guess it's a select group and he has to join it some time...

I think if they play Power Of Two or Free In You I'll cry. I should be fine with most of the other stuff, though. Review to follow.

Update on my new year's resolution to run the 5K Race For Life: I haven't signed up yet (sign up opened last week) at the request of my physical therapist. I've been having really bad back probs at work and the PT doesn't want me to do anything else that might tax my back until it's better. I SHOULD be fine to run, though, since the race isn't until June. I'll keep you posted (and then badger you for sponsorships).

Monday, February 12, 2007


On Saturday, when John was horizontal and I wasn't feeling great, I went to Ipswich to take James to a birthday party. It was a three hour party from 10am to 1pm on a Saturday (a day-killer, as we call them), so I was noodling around in Ipswich to kill time.

When John and I had been killing time previously in Ipswich, I'd noticed that there was a Fabric Warehouse down by the football stadium. So off I trundled on Saturday morning.

I'd been fretting about the amount of naked windows that we're going to have when we move in to the new house next month, and the fairly overwhelming task of 'matching' curtains to the stuff in the rooms that we haven't furnished yet. When I was taking about it with Sandy, she had the great suggestion of going to the fabric store, finding stuff that I liked (and that was on sale) and then buying more than I think I need.

I found two great fabrics - the one for the living room has six-inch high purpley-blue tulips with green stems on a cream background, and the one for the bedroom is blue, yellow and green stripes on a cream background. I got lots of both (they were on sale - yay!), and I'm going to borrow Freda's sewing machine to make the curtains next weekend. I'm a little daunted but mostly excited. I still need to get window coverings for the other two bedrooms, the three bathrooms, and the kitchen window. Phew.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


We had James this weekend, and completely broke protocol by dropping him off this afternoon. John has what James has christened Man Flu. As you've probably heard, they've had a break of the H5-N1 Bird Flu in Suffolk, so it's all over the news. John, however, has escaped with Man Flu.

I'm not feeling terribly stellar, either...mine's more of a low-grade 'ugh' feeling. Blech.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Snow in England!

I caught up with my friend Sandy on Tuesday night - I hadn't seen her since she started her new job and she's loving it. It's the perfect thing for her - she's doing lots of event planning and conference management. Yay!

As I was leaving, her husband arrived home from a conference that he'd been at, where they were giving out squeezy animal stress-reliever things. you know, the little squishy things that you squeeze to make all your worries disappear. hah. So anyway, he gave me a purple rhino, who immediately made himself at home on my desk with the other guys (Sailor Elmo, Horn Smurf, and George the Fimo Dragon).

During my lunchbreak, I was tormenting my boss (who was sort of trying to work, but laughing anyway) and I threw Mr. Rhino to him. And what did he do? Pulled his head off.

I know!!! I was distraught!! Apparently he thought he was the stretchy kind of stress-relief toy thing, and was trying to stretch him out. After some emergency surgery (aka superglue) he's right as rain, with the exception of a fairly gnarly scar around his neck.

He even went out for a small adventure in the snow we had this morning. That's right, snow in England. We had about 3 inches and the whole country screeched to a halt. Everyone was freaking out and convinced that we were all going to die. Somehow, we made it through.

I had a funny New York moment last night - I was on the phone with my mom, who was on her way back from a Broadway show. She told me that her train was in about 15 minutes and then sighed, "I'm desperate for a cup of coffee." I asked her where she was and she replied that she was standing at the top of the escalators in Grand Central, about to go down to the main concourse. I informed her that there were 2 Starbucks nearby, then proceeded to direct her to the closest one. It's kind of tucked away in the side of the terminal, over by the Transit Museum Store, and she had no idea that it was over there. She got her coffee AND made her train! Ahh, the miracles of modern technology.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Garlic, Sapphires and Drooling

At Rebeka's recommendation, I'm reading Ruth Reichl's Garlic And Sapphires. It's AWESOME. She gives backstory on the reviews before including the reviews themselves, and they are truly drool-inducing.

To give you an idea of how much I'm enjoying the book, I started it last night at 9pm and I'm on page 227. And I was at work all day. And we had parent-teacher night at James's school so I didn't start reading until about 8 tonight.

She has a real knack for describing food (she must, to have gotten her job), and I've been thoroughly enjoying her $100 dinners. I just don't want it to end. Luckily, she's written two other food memoirs. Let's hope the Stowmarket library has them!

To all the foodies (and New Yawkas) out there, go read it.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

I'm obsessed with food...

John went out for a curry with the guys last night, so I went to Waitrose and bought a v. glorious steak for dinner. (J doesn't eat red meat). I had a long phone chat with mom and then read for a while and went to bed early. It was very battery-recharging.

This morning I went in to Bury to meet John, and we went out for breakfast. We both had coffee- my latte was SO pretty that we had to take a picture of it. It was with John's cameraphone so the resolution isn't fabulous but I think it gets the point across. I had eggs benedict with a fantastically lemony hollandaise and John had the full english. YUM.

Then we went to the fabric store - we had our first walkthrough of the new house yesterday (it's AWESOME!) and I wanted to check out some curtains. Instead, I got completely distracted by the corduroy that was on sale. I'd mentioned ages ago that I was making a knitted and corduroy blanket like the one that Emily has, but I hadn't found any cord that I liked. This stuff is a really nice chocolate color AND was on sale because it was a remnant. Perfect. Oh, and while we were in there, we saw a sewing machine that costs £4,000. Yup...$7,000. Apparently it will embroider ANYTHING that you tell it to. When we win the lottery...

Speaking of chocolate, I bought some strawberries at Waitrose the other day (I know, I know, it's January...) and they're glorious. So I decided to dip some of them in chocolate. They turned out ok...the chocolate has hardened with a somewhat unappetizing texture, but other than that they're glorious. Sorry the pic's kinda blurry - it's the best I could get.

One more thing- we went in to Stowmarket to do some errands and went to the new wine shop at the station - we were the only ones in there and the assistant was thrilled to have someone to talk to. We 'tasted' the better part of half a bottle (and then bought a few with a promise to return). Good stuff!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

We have a date!

The NYT has announced the release date for the next (last!) Harry Potter book. ACK!!! Here's the link to the article.