Saturday, 31 January 2009

magenta carnations


continuing my flower theme

Monday, 26 January 2009

Pic of the Week: 26 Jan - 1 Feb

Westminster seen from the London Eye
London, December 2005

I took this picture from the London Eye during my sister's xmas visit a few years ago. Click the photo to see a larger version on flickr.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

the shopper's dilemma


Even before Mamasita sent the Envirosax bag for xmas, S and I were in the habit of bringing our own bags to the supermarket. But an unexpected side effect has led to a dilemma. Previously, we saved the plastic carrier bags and used them as bin liners (that's garbage bags, for you American readers.) We used up the last of the carrier bags a few months ago, and we are rapidly depleting our remaining stock of plastic department store bags as well.

So what is a green couple to do? Buying bin liners seems to defeat the point - we might as well just use the carrier bags provided by Sainsburys. At least we wouldn't have to pay extra for bags that have no other real use. But that's not very politically correct. Plus, Sainsburys gives us Nectar loyalty points for bringing our own bags. (Actually, half the time they forget and we have to claim them back, but that's a story for a different rant.)

We're back to square one. And no bin liners.

I suppose we could set up a composter, but even with the amount of rubbish that we can recycle, we would still need to throw certain things away. It seems impossible to avoid the need for plastic bags. So every now and then, we deliberately use the Sainsburys carrier bags just to get some bin liners. It's a messy solution environmentally, but far less messy than not using rubbish bags at all.

I'm still preoccupied by this dilemma, however. What do you do? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama Swears In

Photo taken as Barack Obama took the oath to become President of the United States, with Yes We Did sticker from Tante A in the foreground

Monday, 19 January 2009

Pic of the Week: 19-25 Jan

Week of 19-25 Jan
Monterey Bay, California, Feb 2007

We saw this mother-and-baby otter pair outside the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They looked so happy bobbing along the top of the waves, eating their lunch.

After S helped me with the PhotoShop close-up effects, I submitted this picture to To my knowledge, they never posted it. Isn't it cute enough? You can click on the photo to see a larger version on flickr.

While I'm at it, the dopey octopus is still waiting to be featured on Cake Wrecks and my yarn kitteh is still deep in the recesses of I Can Has Cheezburger. Feel free to help my efforts by nudging the site admins.

(If nothing else, maybe this post is whiny enough for!)

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Pic of the Week

I like having a calendar on my desk at work. This year, I used photobox to make a deluxe desk calendar (week view). I was not entirely happy with the uploading process, but the customer service rep was very helpful and I am confident that it will not be such a headache next time. In any event, the finished product redeemed photobox completely: the calendar is beautiful (if I do say so myself.) The pages are printed on high quality paper, the prints came out better than I expected, and I am sure I will keep it long after 2009.

I used a selection of my digital photos going back to 2003 - more or less the beginning of my iPhoto library. Some of them had never been printed before, and I was curious to see how they would look. Some of them are simply favorites. The main theme is travel but I added some other categories as well.

I only printed three copies: one for mamasita and pop, one for lilsis, and one for me. I have been enjoying changing the page every week, and decided to share the images with the rest of you on my blog. I am used to having my calendar weeks start on a Sunday, but in British fashion, this calendar goes Monday-Sunday rather than Sunday-Saturday. So I will post the pic of the week every Monday, starting tomorrow.

In order to catch you up on the past few weeks, here are the photos you have missed. I started a dedicated flickr page (visible to anyone) so that you can click on the images and see larger sizes. Some of them will be quite small on my blog.


Kew Gardens, Sep 2004

I went to Kew Gardens shortly after I moved to London for my Master's at SOAS. I had visited the gardens on my first trip to London in summer of 1998, and loved the lush and beautiful flowers. In between, I read Orchid Fever, which paints a very unflattering picture of what happens behind the scenes at Kew - fascinating, if a bit disturbing. Even still, the flowers are amazing.

Week of 29 Dec 2008 - 4 Jan 2009
Week of 29 Dec 2008 - 4 Jan 2009
Venice, Jan 2004

I spent New Year's in Venice with J during my month long trip around Europe in Dec 2003 - Jan 2004. We had a lovely time, although we both caught damp-induced colds.

Week of 5-11 Jan
Week of 5-11 Jan
Utrecht, Dec 2003

Part of my month long Europe trip around Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy. I fell in love with Utrecht. It is a charming town, with a lively university and few tourists.

Week of 12-18 Jan
Week of 12-18 Jan
Paris, June 2006

S and I stayed at a friend's flat in Paris. Although he had been to the south of France, he had never been to Paris. We walked all over in two days and had a great time.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

scented hyacinths


these will probably look - and smell - even better in a day or two.

Friday, 16 January 2009

more free laughs

We went to hear the live recording of The News Quiz last night. As usual, we laughed non-stop for nearly two hours. The host, Sandi Toksvig, had a laughing fit so hard at one point she started crying! I'm sure it will be edited out, but listen for '...before he went a bit..different.' Oh well, maybe you had to be there.

One thing is for sure: comedians all over the world will have a short moment of silence next week when W officially turns in his White House keys. Where will they ever get their material now?

As for the rest of us, I can't wait!

In other news, yesterday was our 'between birthdays day.' I bought S a lottery ticket - can you believe he has never had one before? He didn't win. Sigh... time to go to work!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

pink purchases


the first tulips of the year


and a pink lambswool sweater on sale for £10.

spring might still be months away, but i can pretend in the meantime.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

200 posts!


i started this blog in november 2005 and this is post #200. i don't pay much attention to my stats but i wanted to mark this milestone.

originally i started the blog at the encouragement of acechick with a knitting/craft focus. sadly, i'm not prolific enough to have much worthy of showing off on a regular basis.

as it turned out, s and i started dating around then and i began with a post about our trip to belgium. then i moved to balham. next it was the holidays: a thanksgiving feast with friends, and my sister came for xmas. suddenly, i found a lot to blog about - i had plenty of time since i didn't have a job, and although my HSMP visa hopes were rapidly dashed, not long afterward i happily became mrs. d.

the rest, as they say, is history.

it has been fun to record our travels (s and i often ask each other while travelling, 'written your blog yet?'), culinary explorations, kitchen remodel, apple product appreciation, random observations, celebrations with friends and family, immigration process, and even a few crafty projects along the way. s approaches his blog differently: he has more defined categories for tech, photography, travel, and he writes for more targeted audiences. mine is mostly my own journal, written largely with friends and family in mind. not surprisingly, he has a larger following, including more people he has never met. i am just happy to have somewhere to share and store my memories and pictures.

looking forward to more blog-worthy moments in 2009. stick around for the ride!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

kitchen: final tiles

photo by s

the tilers came and put in the last 9 tiles this morning. part of me thought it was overkill to hire them for one more hour just to put up 9 tiles. but i'm glad that s made me realize it was better to finish the job properly by leaving it to the pros.

Monday, 5 January 2009

january snow


typical of london weather to give us snow on our first working day of 2009...

Saturday, 3 January 2009

new year's knitting

i didn't knit much in 2008. i hit a wall in 2007 with the wasabi jumper, and aside from a few presents for friends (including some that didn't make it to the blog), i haven't really touched my needles in ages.

i have had at least one project in the back of my mind since xmas 2006 when we went to iceland, though. i found some lovely, warm icelandic wool in reykjavik and brought back about 10 balls to share with some knitting buddies.

my sister used her ball of blue wool to make some mittens.

a's mittens, snapped on her iphone

she emailed the pattern in october and i finally started making mine on thursday night using red and green wool.


the pattern recommended knitting the ribbed cuffs on size 6 needles, and moving up to size 8's for the hands. i pulled out the beautiful metal needles my mom sent for my birthday last year. i decided to start on some smaller bamboo needles (5's), then move up to the 8's from mamasita.


the knitters among you may know what's coming: the bamboo 5's were really 5.0mm / size 8 - same as the smaller needles from mom - but i didn't realize my mistake until it was time to switch to bigger needles for the hands. at this point, i couldn't be bothered to rip back the ribbing and start again. so i made the mittens on 8's and 10's (5.0mm and 6.0mm).

photo by s

they're lovely ... but huge! more like oven mitts, really. at this point i'm considering felting them. i think they're actually quite good candidates for felting, but i'm nervous about screwing them up. i need to do some more research before i bite the bullet and try felting for the first time.

photo by s

if you would like to share your felting experiences or wisdom, i'd be most grateful.

next part: using the last ball of wool (grey) to make a matching scarf.

i'm glad to have one more tangible souvenir from our iceland trip. i feel bad for their current economic woes (not to mention ours!). i really loved it there and would like to go back someday.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

new year, new toys

happy new year! hope you enjoyed your celebration wherever you were.

despite suffering from the cold/flu that is going around, s and i have been enjoying a relaxing holiday season. the kitchen has been basking in love and attention, too.

kitchen xmas goodies
click on the photo to see the notes on flickr



we are also making our way through lots of chocolate (including my present from s), two tins full of jam tarts, mince pies, and other buns, and an entire xmas fruitcake from s's mum!

2009 is pretty sweet so far...