The World Cup is over, we have a winner, a loser or two, a great number of national sides who deserve to be proud of themselves, and a handful of national sides who tolerate bad behavior from assholes but otherwise deserve to be proud of themselves. There were–what?–33 matches? 32? Dirtbunny watched them all. All of them. She has made a handful of new FC Dirtbunny call-ups based on what she saw.
First, welcome Diego Benaglio, Swiss goalkeeper. He’s a monster. grrrr. Also, from the German national team, Arne Friedrich (an underappreciated defender), and–gulp–Bastian Schweinsteiger, warrior midfielder. I know, I was really down on Schweini a few years ago, but he has won me over with his consistently good play and newly-mature attitude. Also, he reformed the hair.
Second, welcome to the Uruguayan Diegos: El capitano defender Diego Lugano, striker Diego Forlan, midfielder Diego Perez, and defender Diego Fucile. The last one gets in because if I’m going to call up a bunch of Uruguayan Diegos, why not all of them? It’s fun to be arbitrary. Oh, and welcome Xavi. Your call-up is way overdue.
Third, and I hate to have to do this, but I’ve had to develop a new punishment. Assigning Zlatan to clean the dressing room until he apologizes is one thing, but the dressing room isn’t big or filthy enough to support the kind of punishments that certain naughty Dirtbunnies have earned. I have actually had to create a relegation team, the Weasels. Not only will they suffer the shame of relegation, but they will be forced to play in the MLS and their home stadium is RFK Stadium, possibly the worst football field left. Triple shame! Bwahaha! So who goes? Well, Zlatan goes (he still hasn’t apologized), and Franck goes (on account of the underage prostitutes and the French Disgrace), and all Dirtbunnies who are also Azzurri and who played like ass/didn’t try/brought shame to all the tifosi. We had low expectations, but OMG they were terrible. The following Azzurri Dirtbunnies are spared: Gigi, because he was injured and didn’t play; Gio, because he tried really hard to be all four defenders at once; and, hmmm, I guess that’s all. The rest of em, I love you guys, but you sucked and you let me down. If you want back on the senior squad, you are going to have to earn it.
So footie is well and truly over until August (unless I decide to watch friendlies or hunt for obscure online streams of early round
At Least We’re in the Europa League matches). The Tour de France goes for another two weeks or so AND LANCE ARMSTRONG IS NOT GOING TO WIN. HA! but after that, there isn’t going to be anything on the toob. Whatever shall I do with myself?
Lately, there has been a double bane of my kitchen existence. The first is the dirty oven. A few weeks ago, I made a mediocre ricotta cheesecake in my ancient springform pan. I put the pan directly on the rack without putting a baking sheet under it and, guess, what? It leaked butter all over. The leaked butter burned and then charred and then just started to stink whenever I wanted to use the oven, which is pretty much all the damn time. I had to solve the problem.
So, in the new and improved version of the cheesecake, instead of draining the homestyle ricotta overnight, I used it straight. The small amount of extra liquid kept the cake from getting dry and curdled like the first one. Also, more sugar, a simple graham cracker crust instead of the delicious but expensive amaretti cookie crust, and orange zest with Cointreau instead of lemon zest with Amaretto, because I was out of lemons. Oh, and I lined the cake pan with foil and put a tray under it so no more leaking.
Oh. You thought I meant the oven. Yeah. I cleaned the oven. It takes a couple hours and it can create stinky smoke and lots of extra heat, so I needed to 1:Remember; 2:Feel up to it on a day in which criterion 1 is met; and 3:Wait until it wasn’t 100 degrees outside. That was the hard part. Cleaning an oven is no big deal. here’s how:
- Take the racks out.
- Ask someone else to scrape the gunk off the racks.
- Turn on the ceiling fan, the big exhaust fan, and the little exhaust fan.
- Check to see that the fire extinguisher is where you think it is.
- Turn on the “clean” cycle.
- Stay in reasonable proximity to the kitchen until the cycle is over. Do not go to sleep.
- When everything has cooled down and the oven has unlocked itself, sweep/vacuum out the charcoal and put the racks (magically cleaned by someone else) back in.
- Turn off all the fans.
Yeah. So easy, Mr. D could do it.
And the second bane of my kitchen existence is The Farm Box. It comes every Wednesday, and it has been a bit of a struggle to use everything. We’re getting a ton of peaches and apricots now, as well as dozens of tiny plums, plus the usual greens and onions. The freezer is getting full and I’ve been obsessed with clearing it out, so I can’t just wash stuff and slap it in the freezer like I did a few weeks ago. And jeez, I like greens OK and I will eat them, but I don’t love them and I won’t eat them more than about twice a week. Here is how I solved that problem:
- I pitted about three dozen tiny plums and made a plum foccacia with some frozen foccacia dough.
- I peeled and pitted about one dozen apricots and made apricot sorbet.
- Because the apricot sorbet sucked, I thawed it and put it back in the blender. Then I peeled and pitted about two dozen more apricots and pureed them in the blender with the thawed stuff, and then I added more sugar and more water until it tasted right, and then I made apricot sorbet again.
- I peeled and pitted about 20 white peaches. By this time, the dry skin on my thumb split in about five places. Ouchie. It’s mostly healed now, but it’ll open back up again if I do the dishes. I know that sounds awfully convenient, but it’s true. And besides, you didn’t see Mr. D pitting plum or apricots, did you?
- I took some of the peaches, pureed them, and made gelato.
- I took the rest of the peaches, sliced them, and made a pie with a pie crust from the freezer and the last of the yogurt. Not so good. I’m not doing that recipe again.
- I chopped the onions and the chard, sauteed it, and made another pie with eggs, ricotta, leftover provolone, and the other pie crust from the freezer.
- I got the kale and the spaghetti sauce out of the freezer, defrosted the kale, chopped it, cooked it, and made a huge honkin’ lasagna with the last of the leftover provolone, the leftover spaghetti sauce, the two sacks of leftover mozzarella from the freezer, the last bit of the parmesan, and the box of lasagne that’s been on the counter for two weeks because it doesn’t fit in the cupboard.
I can hardly express the relief I feel now that the crap is off the counter, out of the crisper, and out of ziploc bags in the freezer. I turned ingredients into food! I tried to explain this to the dogs, but they kept telling me that it all seemed like food to them. And now the fridge is full and K.P. is done, and there’s nothing left to do but amuse myself with sticks and string.
Yes, I still knit. I knit all the damn time. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes its more of a compulsion than a pleasure, but either way, I knit. Here’s what I’ve been doing.
The Reclamation cardi. Pink, cotton, cables, very nicely done and beautifully constructed and large enough to be worn by both Dirtbunny and Mr. Dirtbunny at the same time. I don’t care. I love it. I just roll up the sleeves (which cracks me up because I shortened the sleeves by six inches already) and wear it every day in the office. I guess that the next time I use this pattern, I can go down another size.
So is the pink yarn gone? No. No it is not. Can you guess what happens next?
That’s right. We have already cast on a new sweater with the remains. It looks awfully big to me for a 4-year-old, but it is actually turning out a bit smaller than the measurements called for in the pattern. Also, you can see here my latest Mindless Monkey Knitting: a plain sock (with nice yarn!) and the beginning of its mate.
There are, of course, more socks:
Up there on top is a purple mock-cable sock I just started. And the other one…
Yeah. I’m not sure how I feel about this one. It’s too complicated to do in front of the toob. I need my glasses to read the pattern, but the stitches are small enough that I can’t see to knit unless I take my glasses off. But it sure is purty.
Lace. This is going to be a shawl. As you might be able to make out, it’s a rectangular piece with lace in a sort of grid pattern. I’ve got three rows of boxes done. If I follow the pattern (and who does that?) I need 26 rows of boxes. However, if I use up the yarn, I’m going to end up with about 30-32 rows of boxes. I’d like to use up the yarn, but there’s not much point in a shawl that’s as large as a blanket. We’ll see how this ends up. It’s pretty damn boring and at the rate I’ve been going, it’ll take another 10 months to finish. (Only not, because before we get to that point, I’ll become obsessed by how old it is and devote all my waking hours to it so I can cross it off the list. *sigh*)