Monday, September 26, 2005

That name again is Mr. Steer

My cousin brought me the gift of meat this weekend. She said it was a gift for the baby but I think I enjoyed it more than the baby did. She brought us 4 lbs of marinated steak tips from a place with the lovely name of "Mr. Steer" in Londonderry, NH

You all know by now that I'm not a big meat eater, but since being diagnosed as anemic with this pregnancy, I've been encouraged to eat red meat often. The trouble is, it's hard to break vegetarian habits. Especially with the high price of meat and its unappealing appearance in the plastic wrap and Styrofoam trays - not to mention the associated guilt.

Matt grilled some of these up on Saturday and served them with roasted Yukon Gold potatoes and roasted asparagus. I couldn't get enough of the steak tips. They were so good. I think I had three generously sized pieces. I don't know what the secret marinade is, but there is a kick to it. Matt grilled them to perfection, too.

Cows are lucky that Mr. Steer is far away from me because this would easily become a habit if they were closer to where I live.

In other news, I've been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This means I will soon have to prick my finger throughout the day to test my blood sugar levels. It also means no more of my favorite foods - carbs. I can pretty easily cut out the junk food, but it will be very difficult to cut out breads, pasta, potatoes, and orange juice. I can eat about one serving of whole wheat bread per day. That's not a lot at all.

I managed to survive my first carb-free weekend, but Mr. Steer had a lot to do with that. It's going to be a difficult third trimester, but the good news is, once the pregnancy ends, so should the diabetes. At that time, all local artisan bread bakeries should be forewarned that I'm on my way.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Can you find the orange tabby cat in this picture?

Originally uploaded by stacy's plate.
No, probably not. That's because he is sealed under the floor, sandwiched between insulation and nailed down with plywood.

This was only one of the adventures we've had so far in the first three days of our dormer construction. Day 1, the contractors discovered a sizeable hornets nest in the attic (and made sure to tell us that one of their workers was stung). Day 2, was far more stressful and traumatic.

We got home from work and could not find our cat, George. The other cat, Katrina was there to greet us at the door like normal. We just assumed George had found a very good hiding place as he is a wimp and is afraid of strangers and loud noises.

After about 3 hours of searching inside and out in every possible place, we assumed he got outside and would return at some point. Although we knew it was out of his character to sneak out and especially not return for food. (Both of our cats are indoor cats.)

Matt and I were on the verge of freaking out but remained relatively calm so far. Sometime after 9:00, we thought we heard a thump coming from upstairs in the construction zone. Matt ran upstairs and swore he heard a faint, scared "meow" come from somewhere in the floor.

Like a mother who lifts a 2 ton car off of her trapped child, Matt got a surge of adrenaline and began tearing up the new sub-floor plywood with a crow bar and hammer. He pulled out insulation and peered in between the floor joists with a flashlight. No sign of the cat. Matt began to doubt himself and started to worry about the contractors because he tore apart their work.

A little while later, Matt spotted George coming out of the floor joists. But George got spooked when he saw Matt and went back in. We gave him a little time to come out on his own and eventually he did. He was a little dusty and wary, but other than that unharmed.

He must have gone upstairs to explore when the workers were out at lunch and hid in an exposed floor joist when they returned - instead of running back down the stairs. He must have hid very well because the workers proceeded to seal up the floor with George inside!

We are very fortunate that Matt heard the meow and trusted his instincts. I hate to think what would have happened if we hadn't heard him.

George was pretty much back to his normal self by the next morning. Matt and I are still recovering from the experience. George is now locked up during the day in our back room with food, water, and a litter box.

Click the photo to see the construction progress in Flickr.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Free time and idle hands means you really gotta knit something

My wonderful knitting group, MIT Stitch & Bitch collected 6+ HUGE shopping bags full of yarn and needles to donate to a shelter in Texas that is hosting Katrina refugees. The bigger effort is being organized by the Nashoba Valley Knitters Guild. I used to belong to the guild but can't seem to make the 7:00 meetings after my long commute home.

Check out our donation and learn more about where the yarn is going.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Beautiful Day at Mass MoCA

Beautiful Day at Mass MoCA
Originally uploaded by stacy's plate.
This past weekend, we took what was probably our last spontaneous semi-long distance day trip. We drove a little over 2 hours to North Adams, MA to Mass MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art).

Before we bought our house and had very little free time on the weekends, we used to go to Mass MoCA about once a year. They don't change the exhibits very often - probably because the museum is so far out of the way. This was the first time we had been there in a couple of years. If you've never been there, I highly recommend it. It's a beautiful drive on Rt. 2 which becomes the Mohawk Trail as it gets further north and west. Even if you don't like contemporary/conceptual art, the museum is worth seeing just for the history and architecture. It's housed in what used to be the Sprague Electric Company, and before that, a printing mill.

From the Mass MoCA website:

"Listed in the National Historic Register, the site's 26 buildings form an elaborate system of interlocking courtyards and passageways rich with historical association. Bridges, viaducts, elevated walkways, and red brick facades lend a distinct architectural ambiance to the complex, which throughout its history has been a place for innovation and fabrication using the most advanced knowledge and technology of the day."

Anyway, we stopped along the way for a picnic by the Cold River (which was all dried up) in the Savoy State Forest, which is right along a windy, hilly portion of Rt. 2, about 15 minutes before North Adams.

The weather was gorgeous and it felt like our last stress-free weekend as the house construction is supposed to start this week and then the race is on until the baby comes in December.

Click the photo above to view more !

Thursday, September 08, 2005

long time no blog

I've been occupied, what can I say?

Work has been rather busy lately - in a good way. Home life has been crazy as we prepare for major construction that will start ANY DAY NOW and had better be finished long before the bean arrives! My 4 year old 16lb orange tabby cat had to have four teeth extracted last week. And all of a sudden I am 6 months pregnant (where has the time gone?)!

On top of all that, what could I possibly have to share about my own rather mundane life while so many people (and animals) are suffering beyond anything that I can try to wrap my brain around -- IN MY OWN COUNTRY where stuff like this just doesn't happen to people - at least not to people I know in my own cushy sheltered life.

What gets me most are the pet stories. I have to run and turn off the radio or TV or change the web page as soon as I hear or see anything about people who had to leave their beloved pets behind when they evacuated. I started to hear one story on NPR about a woman who had left her cats about 3 days worth of food because she thought she'd be back home after that. Hearing stories like that and seeing photos of skinny dirty dogs and cats wander around aimlessly looking for food and drinking contaminated water breaks my heart. I can't bear to listen and I must go hug my own spoiled cats. I've donated money to the ASPCA and can only hope that these pets are not being ignored by rescue teams.

Too much, too much...

Getting back to my mundane life, here is a general update:

As I mentioned above, I am 6-months pregnant now and really showing. The baby is also learning how to break dance in my belly (as I write this). I had a third ultrasound a week ago to check on some placenta issue (which resolved itself) and asked if I was still having a boy (I wanted to be really sure), and indeed he is still a boy. It was a lot more obvious this time!

I am starting to get nervous because we have not bought one item for the baby yet. We have been offered so many items from friends and coworkers and I am extremely grateful, but because of the current chaotic state of our house we have no where to store these items. People keep reassuring me that we don't need to have everything in place yet, but I am a planner/list-maker/type A sort of person and it is driving me crazy not being prepared in advance.

You may or may not know that we are having a dormer added to the second floor of our cape which will contain a second bathroom and some much needed closet space. This work was supposed to have started in June, but our original contractor evaporated into thin air. We have since signed a contract with a reputable construction company (fingers crossed) that specializes in dormers and second floor additions. They were originally supposed to start the day after Labor Day and now they say they will start next week. I am nervous and stressed about this whole thing because it's my house after all. Not to mention I fear that my cats will freak out and run away because of the noise and chaos. But mostly, I'm afraid it won't be finished in time for the baby.

No recipes to report today. I will say that I have been enjoying the bounty of summer. Tomatoes... corn... blue berries... peaches... tomatoes... tomatoes... tomatoes...

Matt and I branched out on our exploration of beef and grilled up some steak tips this weekend. They were pretty darn good, I must admit. We are wondering what we'll do when the baby is old enough to eat solid food. Before the pregnancy, we had a pretty much vegetarian lifestyle at home, except for fish occasionally. We're getting a little hooked on the meat thing though. It's still pretty infrequent that we actually have it at our house and we'll probably continue with our current lifestyle. I guess we'll play it by ear.

That's all for now.