Cooking

Welcome To The Year of The Sheep!

So, yesterday was the Lunar New Year, also more commonly known as the Chinese New Year (but apparently that is no longer politically correct.  Who knew?), and to celebrate I got the BRILLIANT idea to cook myself something special. Because that’s what you do for holidays when your boyfriend is out of town for work.  Even obscure holidays that have nothing to do with your location or cultural heritage.  Everybody knows that.

Here in the Southern U.S. of A, we generally tend to eat cabbage (for money) and black-eyed peas (for luck) on New Year’s Day.  These are actually new traditions for me, that I didn’t discover until my first New Year’s in Texas in ’08, when I woke up hungover at a friend’s house and she proceeded to shuffle me off to her grandmother’s and shovel these weird things onto my plate, with little to no explanation.  And thus was I introduced to the concept of food as symbol (after I sobered up enough to have someone to explain it to me, that is).

Apparently, the Chinese have a similarly weird tradition of associating their food with symbolic superstition, to an insane degree.  Here’s a list of foods and their meanings that I was able to find.  Seriously, just take a look.  Go on, I’ll wait…

(…)

See what I mean?  So, rather than trying to dig through all the symbolism, I decided to go with something that several sources seemed to think were fairly agreed upon Lunar New Year staples.  The first is Buddha’s Delight, a pretty fantastic vegetarian smorgasbord that is actually meant to be eaten by an entire family and symbolizes the Buddhist tradition of cleansing your body by abstaining from meat (I substituted the carrots for shitake mushrooms).  The other, was a whole, steamed fish, which apparently is a homonym for prosperity in Chinese.  There is a saying, apparently, that literally translates as both “let every year be plentiful” and “let every year have fish”!

I’m not gonna lie, the Buddha’s Delight was great.  The tofu kind of fell apart on me and it was WAY more than I thought it would be, but it tasted good.  But honestly, the highlight of this entire culinary escapade was indisputably the fish.  I have never in my life cooked a complete whole fish before.  I was super excited.  I may have Facebooked about it a little.  And so now, I present to you, the tale of my New Year’s fish, told in pictures and Facebook statuses:

About to enjoy a fun filled night in with the new guy I just picked up at HEB...
About to enjoy a fun filled night in with the new guy I just picked up at HEB…
Fish Selfie!
Fish Selfie!
"Please, good sir, step into my sauna..."
“Please, good sir, step into my sauna…”
When Extreme Steam goes wrong... or right... depending on which side of the plate you're on...
When Extreme Steam goes wrong… or right… depending on which side of the plate you’re on…
RIP little buddy. You will be remembered (as delicious)...
RIP little buddy. You will be remembered (as delicious)…

So there you have it!  My Lunar New Year dinner!  Never mind that it took me nearly three hours to put together (and that doesn’t count shopping time and the two extra trips to the store I had to make because I forgot something :P), it was glorious and I would do it again in a heartbeat!  Preferably with friends and some paper lanterns next time… 🙂

新年快樂

Gong Xi Fa Cai (Happy New Year) everyone!

Crafting, Writing

What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Writing

*Warning!*

This post has been rated CCS– “Craptastic Crochet Selfies”.  Viewer discretion is advised.

So, since my writing has been an absolute flop the past few weeks, I thought I would share what I’ve been doing while I was SUPPOSED to be writing.

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Please ignore the quality of this selfie. I hate it too.
Please ignore the quality of this selfie. I hate it too.

The hat and scarf are new additions to the mitts (made several months ago), so now I have a set!  The yarn is a limited edition run from a wonderful independent dyer in Missouri, Nerd Girl Yarns.  Christa is wonderful, her yarn is fantastic and she’s just a great person.  I’ve never met her face to face, but she frequents the Ravelry group quite often, and she makes an effort to know everyone there, names and yarn preferences and… yeah, she’s basically amazing 🙂

Also, she has a blog.

The yarn itself is a MCN (merino/cashmere/nylon) blend called Come Hither (did I mention the yarn names are fantastic?  Because they are.) and the colorway is called… (drumroll, please)… Jelly Babies!

Because this guy!

doctor-whos
Yeah, this DEFINITELY looks like a man who needs more sugar…

In case you don’t know, that is Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor (Doctor Who… British thing… If you don’t know what I’m talking about I don’t know how to help you.  Google is your friend.) and the greatest lover of Jelly Babies to ever exist.  So naturally, while I was working with the yarn I had to watch Old School Doctor Who… and then New School Doctor Who… Doctor Who… Yeah…

So that’s why writing didn’t get done.  Jelly Babies.  I’m trying to feel ashamed, but I’m really not.

Writing

NaNoWriMo “Now What?” Update!

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  • Week One Progress:  800 words written
  • Week Two Progress:  2000 words written
  • Week Three Progress: *headdesk*
  • Week Four Progress:  See Week Three.

So, no noticeable progress to report.  I’m sorry everyone.  I was telling Elissa, one of my friends in writing group (check out her blog by the way, she’s super awesome!) that I have been bogged down in Chapter Thirty-Two for two weeks now… and there weren’t even supposed to be thirty-two chapters in this thing!  Seriously, this was supposed to be a feels-fest.  A fluffy, fluffy feels-fest, with minimal action and some cool epilogue type things and that was it!  This was supposed to be easy!  I was supposed to fly through this thing in a month!  Two, tops!

And then suddenly… A WILD PLOT APPEARS!

(…)

I mean…

Seriously?  I’m supposed to be the writer, and I have NO IDEA where this even came from.  I’m trying you guys, but my characters don’t want to cooperate.  They can’t even decide where they’re going half the time.  Do I stay?  Do I go?  For the love of… Come on Gandalf, MAKE A DECISION!

However, it is now February, which means I’m back to revising Parts One through Three!  Hopefully this will give my addled brain a break and allow me to unstick whatever is stuck up there so I can get back to writing!  Crossing fingers and toes this will work, wish me luck!