High-Quality Tools

Earlier in the year, I bought from Woot.com an expensive high-quality cooking knife. It was such a great deal that I couldn’t resist. When it showed up, I remember being entranced just by the patterns in the steel.

When I finally got my kitchen rearranged, I put the kitchen knife up on a magnetic wooden block on the wall, where it’s been just staring at me, waiting to be used. As silly as it sounds, I’ve been holding off, waiting for some sort of special reason to do so. Fast forward to today, when I was preparing to chop up a huge butternut squash for dinner. And suddenly I thought, “Why am I waiting to use this knife for ‘something special’ when I could use it now?”

And oh, was it a lovely experience. That knife cut through the squash like it was butter, not butternut. Totally in love with the knife. Probably the best Woot purchase I’ve made to date. And now I totally want to chop up more things with it! I also feel slightly silly for not having used it up until now. A good knife really is worth its weight in gold.

Drive-By Blog Update

Been awfully busy lately, and that means the blog is the first thing to not get updated. I then tell myself, “I’ll have to update my website with all of the interesting things I’ve been doing.” Except, of course, it’s not terribly interesting, really. But a few things of note as of late…

Worst Open House Ever?

Probably not. But Charlie and I did look at some open houses over the weekend (not that we’re buying in the near future, but to get an idea of right now what is available in our suspected price range) and there was one house that stood out in particular for being unwelcoming. First, when we got there, the front door was locked. As we were standing right next to the front window (with the realtor slumped on a couch), he saw us trying to open the door and hopped up and opened the door. “I don’t know how that happened,” he said. Because of course the door locked its own deadbolt.

But then, we stepped in and were greeted with an overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke. As we gasped for air, then realtor dealt the final blow. “When I got here for the open house I found out that one of the contractors working on the house is not feeling well and he’s lying down in the master bedroom, so I’m going to have to ask that you not go in there.”

“We’ll just come back,” Charlie said, as he and I scrambled towards the door. Which of course, meant, never. Talk about three strikes and you’re out…

Small Press Expo 2010 A Success

This year’s Small Press Expo (a show I first attended in 1995, first volunteered for in 1997, and have helped run in some capacity since 1998) was a huge success, hurrah! It was also my last year as the grand poobah of the Ignatz Awards, so having that off my shoulders (more or less) was also a big relief. I finished up my wine sketchbook, which I started back in 2001. I am determined to buckle down and scan the rest and start posting those sketches here… soon… honest.

Autumn = Soup Weather

I love making soup in colder weather, both on the stove and in my crock pot. I also finally decided to give Soupergirl a try, a local chef who sells her homemade soups that you order in advance. I’m going to keep making my own soup, of course, but I’m dying to see how hers taste too. Especially since hers is a zucchini pear soup, something that sounds strange at first and then intriguing, and more importantly I’d never have thought to try it on my own.

Upcoming Documentary I Can’t Wait To See

Waiting for “Superman” is opening this weekend in the DC area, David Guggenheim’s new documentary on the public school system in the United States and its decline over recent years. Part of the focus is on the DC school system and DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, and I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself. For the record, while I don’t think she was perfect (and made some mistakes along the way), I do think that Rhee was one of the best things to happen to DC public schools in the past few years.

Another Reason I Hate Telemarketing

While I was brushing my teeth this morning, the phone rang. Thinking it might be work, I spat out my toothpaste and rinsed quickly, then hurried to the phone… where it turned out to be a telemarketer. I picked it up, told them no and to not call again, then hung up and gathered everything up for work.

It wasn’t until I was halfway to work that I realized that thanks to the interruption in the schedule, I had not taken my allergy medicine or vitamins. Grrrrr.

(Ironically, the telemarketer was from a magazine that I like, offering one of those “we’ll send you this best of book, if you don’t like it you can send it back and the postage is on us” and it’s a book I wouldn’t have minded. But I have a firm “I will not buy anything from a telemarketer” policy in place. No exceptions. I just hate the practice, even when the people on the phone are perfectly nice and pleasant.)

On the bright side, allergy shots in general are definitely doing something right. (As are the pillow and mattress covers that I finally bought, which among other things block dust mites.) I would have been majorly stuffed up and feeling distinctly unpleasant by now, two years ago. Instead, just a tiny bit stuffed up. But still.

And on a different note, as this is my last year in running the Ignatz Awards, it has been a wonderful feeling to clear a lot of the stuff connected to it out of my office this week. Between that and getting rid of some other stuff on my own, it is almost completely presentable. Yay!