After spending last week mostly in bed with a cold that, while not the worst I've ever had, was certainly draining I've decided to spend the week cleaning up my apartment in hopes of getting it spruced up enough to host guests.

I'm hoping to have a jigsaw puzzle party, possibly with experimental historic hair-dressing, sometime next month.

But today, it was scrubbing the bathroom clean. Not actually fun, and I probably need to throw out and replace my shower curtain, but the floor is sparkling, and I didn't overtax my lungs with fumes, so I'm going to call it a good day.

I hope to clean the kitchen tomorrow, but it's really going to depend what happens once I get back from the fitness center tomorrow.
Melomakarona, tiropita, regular pita, fruit & nut bread, kabocha squash, and pink lady and nittany apples.
Friday: saw King Charles III at the Shakespeare Theater.

Saturday: went to Millennium Stage for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater workshop based on his signature work Revelations: we did "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel", "Wade in the Water", and "Rocka My Soul iin the Bosom of Abraham", admittedly with somewhat simplified choreography -- nobody was asking a group of amateurs to do hinges, after all. It was a lot of fun, but I did have the usual problem of children who weren't participating but were running around being underfoot. I don't want to trip on or knock over a 7-year-old!

Sunday: a short excursion to Labyrinth Games & Puzzles -- we got sucked into the jigsaw puzzle vortex, as they had a Ravensburger Antique Map puzzle out for fiddling with, and the salesclerk helpfully showed us the roll-mats for puzzles, so there are tentative plans to have an all-day puzzle party sometime soonish. Then dinner at Belga Cafe. We got a couple of waffles to share as starters, and then entrees. Desserts we decided to share among the table -- basically, we'd talked [personal profile] greenygal into ordering the asparagus beignets with candied asparagus and asparagus ice cream, and everyone wanted to try a bit of it. We actually ordered every desert except the endive clafoutis...maybe next time?..but I think the best dessert was the warm cherry almond cake.

Monday: stayed in bed with a head cold... which is a let-down after a very fun weekend.
Due to [personal profile] fabrisse having an extra ticket, I got to see the Shakespeare Theater Company's production of King Charles III tonight. Let me say this -- it's a modern play that really rewards being a Shakespeare buff!

It's a pretty amazing story that deals with rights of the press, the right to privacy, the conscience of a king, and a constitutional crisis!
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AwesomeCon panel suggestions  are closing Friday, February 10th. [profile] hollimichele​ has ideas she’s going to submit, but is looking for people who are coming and interested in being panelists.

I'm going to volunteer for the YA comics panel and We Have Always Been Here: The Women Who Built Fandom., and possibly Food in Comics.
I turned over one of the beds this morning, and seeds for scattered peas, green beans, borlotti beans, and cowpeas, and also onion starts in the turned soil. It's ridiculously warm here for mid-winter (about 69F) and the carrot seeds that I scattered in the other bed in the fall have sprouted and are spreading their feathery stems everywhere. I should get some broadbean/fava been seeds and get them started in time for late March planting -- I think this year I need to start everything at least 3 weeks earlier than I normally would. I should probably get more cowpea and pole bean varieties too, maybe some smaller squashes...

Also, I tried the waffle-maker one of my friends gave me for Christmas -- it's going to take a bit of work finding a small enough recipe for just me, and then figuring out what the ideal setting on the waffle iron is so I get crispy waffles.
The tea savories were a big hit at [personal profile] wolfshark's stitch-'n'bitch, so here's the recipe:

Ingredients )
Instructions )

Note: Normally, Worcestershire sauce is made from anchovies, as well as vinegar, molasses, sugar, and onions -- if you wish the tea savories to be vegetarian, look for a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.

From Eat Tea by Joanna Pruess with John Harney.
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Made pfeffernusse and tea swirls for the stitch'n'bitch tomorrow. Used cherrywood-smoked cardamom in the pfeffernusse and they are strong! I'm almost out of Irish Breakfast tea now -- I really only use it for this recipe, which is cooked, diced onion mixed with tea and Worcestershire sauce made into a paste and rolled up in puff pastry dough before being sliced into savory cookies.
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On Saturday, the Phillips Collection is opening a special exhibit on Toulouse-Lautrec that will run through the end of April. I'd like to get a group together to go see it -- it's a special exhibit, so it will cost $12 each -- please let me know if you're interested and when you'd be available. It will probably be a weekend outing, as the museum is closed Mondays.

[personal profile] wolfshark is having a stitch'n'bitch on Saturday, Feb 4th -- more details at her post.

The Carpe Diem! Silver Spring Contradance will be next week Thursday, Feb 9th; $10 to dance, first-timers free. I do suggest you bring your own water bottle, since it's easy to overheat in a room full of dancers.

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be giving a workshop focused on their iconic work, Revelations, at Millennium Stage on Saturday, Feb 11th. Squee! This is a free event, so well worth heading over to the Kennedy Center for it!

Since my birthday is the 9th, I'd like to go out to celebrate either that Friday evening, or sometime that weekend. I'm thinking Lavagna, Oyamel, or Belga Cafe, but if you know a spectacular place that you'd think I'd like, feel free to mention it!
Pound of lacinto kale, 1/2 pound of mesclun mix, spanakopita, galaktoboureko, pita, cheddar scone, a quarter of country white bread, raspberry vinegar, magnolia vinegar (for shrubs, and the owner says he'll have pawpaw in a few weeks), small kabocha squash, rolled rib lamb roast, boneless pork roast, spinach & ricotta ravioli, smoked paprika papardelle, eggplant pasta sauce, chive quark, black arkansas and pink lady apples, and a boston butt pork roast.

I'm thawing the boston butt to make carnitas, and will make caldo verde with the kale tomorrow.

It was really interesting to talk to the vinegar-maker, as he starts from the ground up -- harvests local plants himself or buys fruit from local farms, makes the produce into wine, and that into vinegar, which is why he sells things like spicebush vinegar. We also got to talking about strawberries -- there is a native wild strawberry that might work for his business, Fragaria virginiana.
I met up with [personal profile] ambyr and went to the Textile Museum for their special exhibit on Okinawan bingata -- it's a specific resist-dye technique unique to Okinawa and included not only clothes, but in many cases the matching stencils used to make the clothes.

There were many historic pieces, and a couple of contemporary pieces -- a stage backdrop, a cultural fusion wedding gown, and a very traditional Okinawa robe with motifs of flowers, clouds, paratroopers, and fighter jets called Yu-I, Yu-I by Yuken Teruya.

Walking around I did notice some of the differences between the Okinawan garments and the Japanese garments I'm more familiar with. [personal profile] ambyr knows more about Japanese history than I do, but we both came out of the exhibit wanting to know more about Okinawan history, especially how they managed as comparatively small kingdom balanced between the spheres of influence of China and Japan. I don't suppose anyone has any recommended reading for me?

The museum offered keychains of Okinawan star sand in exchange for filling out a survey, so I now have brightly colored sand for my nephews.

Afterward, I stopped by Beefsteak as it is only a block from the Metro and had the beet-burger special. Very tasty, and quite cheap for downtown DC. Now that I know where it is, I would definitely stop there again when I'm down that way -- a good stop before going to a Millennium Stage concert.

By the way, on Saturday, February 11th, the Millennium Stage performance is a workshop by the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater... which would be awesome to attend.
I made it to Women's March today before the rally started, and lasted about 2.5 hours -- the damp finally got to me.

It was probably the most crowded I've seen the Mall in quite a long time; from 3rd & Independence all the way back to Natural History, and quite possibly beyond, and overflowing Constitution on the north and Independence on the south.

I didn't have a pink pussy-hat, but there were an amazing number of them being worn, in a variety of shades, shapes, and quality of manufacture. There were also more than a few people who decided that cat-ears or cat make-up was also going to get the point across.
There is a stray guinea fowl hiding in the bushes by the fitness center of my apartment complex. It's a little weird to see exotic poultry just out about -- I suspect it escaped from someone's backyard coop -- but when I informed the housing office, they said animal control had already been out and had not been able to catch the bird. Of course not -- guinea fowl are much better fliers than chickens, and it just flew to the top of the building. I'm a little disappointed that animal control gave up; I really don't want to see a mound of feathers some day because the bird got hit by a car, or eaten by a local hawk, or just killed in a blizzard or by below-freezing temperature.
I went to see Singing in the Rain with [personal profile] greenygal and friend today as there was a special showing for the 65th anniversary.

It holds up pretty well, and it's interesting to see how the background extras aren't perfect Hollywood faces and bodies. One does wonder how Lina Lamont was able to get the contract that becomes so important for the end of the movie, as the terms she has are incredible for a 1920s movie star.

Afterward, [personal profile] greenygal and I went to Pi Pizza for dinner. We wound up speculating about how actors would work in a universe with daemons a la Pullman's Dark Materials, and thought maybe there would be stunt daemons with their people off camera, with that being a way to break into acting.

Right as we were leaving, an anti-Trump anti-fascist protest came down the street, and I wound up explain to a 10-year-old that it was a protest and she'd probably see a lot of them in the next week. She was very concerned and astonished, and possibly had never seen anything like it. Hopefully all the coming protests will be as peaceful at that one.
Quart of milk, pint of chocolate milk, half-pint of raspberry yogurt smoothie, kalamata humus, pita, spanakopita, olive bread, ricotta & spinach ravioli, bolognese sauce, and hand-made fettuccine (a buy 2, get 1 free special from Osteria al Volo, which looks like a place to check out -- really good Italian food is harder to find than you'd think).
I went to H-Mart, one of the local Korean groceries today, and picked up dried anchovies and tteok (sticky rice cakes), two ingredients that I can't get anywhere else. I hope to make kombucha porridge (hobakjuk) with anchovy stock this weekend, as the first time I made it I found it way too sweet for my tastes, and couldn't finish it; the local kimchi vendor at the farmer's market suggested I make it savory by using anchovy stock, so I'll see.

I also got some king oyster mushrooms, so I can make the mushroom and seafood porridge (haemul beoseotjuk) with proper ingredients. I also picked up a small container of spicy cucumber kimchi (oisobadi), as the recipe I have makes way more than I can be expected to eat in a reasonable amout of time.
I only lasted about an hour at the contradance, but it was fun. Next time, I'll know to wear lighter clothes (though getting over to the civic building in February in linen trousers and a short-sleeved top will be a challenge...) and bring a water bottle, because I overheated quickly. I might also want to wear lighter shoes.

They are scheduled through June, the second Thursday evening of each month. May is Le Vent Du Nord, one of my favorite Canadian traditional folk bands, so I'm definitely going to go to that one. I guess I'll just have to keep going and get good at contradancing.
Hey local friends!

Carpe Diem! Arts and the Washington Revels are sponsoring contradance on the second Thursday of the month at the Silver Spring Civic Building (1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring MD).

The first dance will be tomorrow, with lessons at 7pm for beginners, and the main dance starting at 7:30pm. The entrance fee is $10, first time free. This is a 10-minute walk from the Silver Spring Metro -- across from the Silver Spring Regal Majestic, if you've ever been there. I'm planning on going, as long as the weather remains nice.
Water buffalo stew meat, shiitake black bean burgers, mushroom ravioli, dragon's breath cheese, monocacy chipotle goat cheese, a quarter of sourdough loaf, a cheddar scone, nittany apples, bosc pears, asian pear, smoked spice sampler, tamale del elote, chicken empanada, and three jalapeno peppers.

I'm going to try to make chilaquiles tomorrow.

It was 18F with a windchill that made it feel like 5F when I went to the market, so I think I might spend the rest of the day trying to learn to hibernate... or at least wrapped in a comforter with knee-high socks on.
The springerle cookies my mom ordered for me from The Springerle House just arrived. They must have used a dozen different molds, and extremely detailed ones, as the cookies are rectangular, square, and round, and have elaborate scenes on them, including two different nativity scenes!

They taste fantastic! I'm going to have to share them, or I'll eat them all fifty cookies myself.
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