August 13, 2009

My Medallion

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 1:27 am by Jenn

Well, here they are – as promised.  Pictures of my finished Botanica Medallion Cardigan.

I put the seam under the right arm instead of down the middle of the back.  The yarn I used was Berroco Ultra Alpaca.



And this is probably the most unflattering picture of the decade, but I’m putting it out there anyway


So there you have it!  My first finished sweater.

And for all you Max fans – here is a picture of the boy cooling off with an ice cold Frosty Paws.



March 30, 2009

Farida’s Mushroom Appetizer with Twisted Chicken to follow

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:53 pm by Jenn

A few months ago while surfing the net for a recipe for borsch, I came across a website called Farida’s Azerbaijani Cookbook.  I was immediately curious and found several dishes that I wanted to try.  I emailed the blog’s author, Farida asking if she had a recipe for borsch.  Low and behold she did and she emailed it to me a few days ago.  I’ll be making it tomorrow.

Tonight however, I treated my tastebuds to another of Farida’s recipes – Mushrooms Stuffed with Eggplant, Walnuts and Fresh Herbs.  In one word – FABULOUS!  If you want a super quick, tasty appetizer, do yourself a favor and give these a try.  I made the following modifications – I used 1/2 the recipe since it was only me and Scott, I added one clove of minced garlic to the mixture in the frying pan and I added about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese prior to stuffing.  Another word – YUMMO!  Scott wolfed down 8 of them in no time and I managed to polish off 4 with no problem and could have eaten more.  Thankfully I wanted Andy to try them so I didn’t eat the 5th one….yet!  Andy better get over here in the next hour though otherwise I can’t be responsible for my actions.


The main course is still in the oven and due to come out in about 15 minutes.  This is a newbie for me….I’m calling it Twisted Chicken.  It’s a variation of Andy’s Greek Chicken from 2 weekends ago.  Basically, it’s a baked chicken and oven roasted vegetables.  I stuffed the chicken with a few cloves of garlic, some fresh dill and a boiled lemon….yep, that’s right, boiled lemon.  I learned that from Andy, and it gives the chicken just a hint of lemon flavor.  I par boiled the potatoes and the lemon and garlic cloves then stuffed the chicken and added the potatoes and some fresh carrots around the chicken in the roasting pan.  End result is a great tasting bird and veggies.  Thanks Andy for the lemon idea, this will be a frequent meal in the Smart household….Twisted Chicken.

And I’ll leave you with this cute picture of Max sleeping.  It’s hard to believe he’s comfortable, and he LOVES to sleep on top of his kennel because that’s where the sunshine is!  The dog moves from spot to spot throughout the day, following the sun.


February 16, 2009


Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , at 5:24 pm by Jenn

Today I was doing some online shopping for lint rollers, dryer sheets, dog food, nephew’s birthday present, etc. and I came across a product that I immediately had to learn more about. It’s a Dog DNA test, called the Canine Heritage Breed Test.

I know, I know, but really when you think about it, it’s a pretty cool concept and it’s one that can be of some benefit in trying to understand your dog. Knowing what types of breeds your dog is made of can help you to understand a LOT about his/her personality and can be beneficial for healthcare.

Max is definitely a mutt and we’ve had lots of guesses about what type of dog he is. A majority of people say definitely Spaniel, including our Spaniel loving friends Marci and Brian…but what kind?  One woman insisted he has some Gordon Setter – she raised Gordon Setters so I guess maybe she’d know. I’m curious and with this Dog DNA test I’m fairly certain that I’ll find out at last.

This company has DNA information for over 100 breeds of dogs…all of the breeds we suspect Max is are listed….Cocker Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Gordon Setter. It’s simple enough to obtain the DNA sample, all you have to do is take a swab (non-invasive) from the dog’s cheek, mail it off and wait….you can even send a picture and when they send you the results your dog’s picture will be there on his very own personal pedigree!

Yes, I’m crazy, but this is a great idea and I’m doing it. Stay tuned for the results!  In the meantime, here’s a couple of pictures (taken by our friend Kay Burn Lim on Christmas Eve 2008) of the guy….care to make a guess at what the results will show?


I’m guessing Field Spaniel/Gordon Setter.

September 20, 2008

Give me a BREAK!

Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 12:09 am by Jenn

Today is my first real day back in Baku and already we have drama. Have I mentioned lately how much I don’t like living here?

So today I took Max for his afternoon potty break outside on the “grass” as I usually do. It was about 5:00 there were a few kids out there. They love Max and roll around with him and he licks them and lets them love on him. The kids love it and Max loves it. The kids Mom came over and chatted with me for a few minutes, then they were off to shopping. I went next door to get the sunglasses that I left at our neighbors’ apartment when we went for dinner last night and on the way back to my apartment I noticed a new piece of paper on the bulletin board. It said something like this –

Dear Tenants

We have recently found dog droppings in front of “Block B” and in the “grassy pond”. It is your responsibility to clean up after your pet. There are many children who play in the grassy pond on the swings and see saws. You will no longer be allowed to walk your pet on the premises.

I thought, hmmm. Then I got mad. Where I am supposed to walk my dog? In the park down the street? Oh, you mean the block long patch of dust and concrete where there are hypodermic needles, broken glass, and sheep shit? Not to mention the fact that it is across the street which means I would be risking my life to take my dog to the bathroom 3-4 times a day. 2 times of which it’s dark outside, I’m an American living in a foreign country and I’m female. Did I mention the pack of wild dogs that roams our neighborhood procreating like there is no tomorrow? Oh and did I mention that I saw a man who had bled out and died on the street just up from the park a few weeks ago from his stab wound? Yeah. I’m not walking my dog off this property!

I called the people who handle housing for us at Scott’s work and basically was told that they couldn’t do anything for us. They suggested the park. I told them that wasn’t an option. I then spoke to a neighbor who has a dog and she said that she had heard about the notice and that they would be taking their dog out to the back of the building. We sometimes take Max there to avoid the children while he’s trying to take care of his business so this isn’t really a big deal for us either.

SO, this evening when I went to take Max out for his potty break, I avoid the “grassy pond” and took him to the back of the building. While I was back there I was approached by one of the security guards who informed me of the notice. I told him that I read it. He look confused. I told him that I didn’t feel safe leaving the property and explained to him my reasons. He understood, though told me that mgmt had given security instructions to enforce the rule. I told him that I understood that he was doing his job, but that I wasn’t leaving the property. I also told him that I would only bring Max out back and that I would not let him use the bathroom in the “grassy pond”. This seemed to satisfy him but he did say that if mgmt said anything that he would have to tell them that I refused. I told him that this would be fine.

The guards here are really nice and I don’t have a problem with them doing their jobs, in fact they do a wonderful job of protecting our property and monitoring traffic coming in and out. I do have a problem with the mgmt telling us that we can’t walk our dogs on the premises….meaning the entire property. The request for the dogs not to use the play area as a potty is understandable….although why anyone would want their child to play barefoot or their infant to crawl around on the ground in this filthy country is BEYOND me. I think that they need to give us a designated place for dogs, or make this a no pet property!

I understand that the expats here are really the only people with dogs as pets. The local people really only have dogs for security and they stay outside. They don’t understand that our animals are like our families. I really hope this blows over, but if it doesn’t I hope that no one is surprised when I pack my dog up and go home!

They’d really have a fit in Germany where the dogs are allowed in the restaurants! On our last night of vacation we ate dinner at the table next to the cutest dog. His owner was hanging out with friends. The dog had a nice big plate of mashed potatoes for dinner! It was awesome.

December 21, 2007

Fever update

Posted in Journal, Max's World tagged , , , , at 11:55 pm by Jenn


Here is a picture of my progress so far on the poncho.  I’ve never knit with any of these yarns before so it is a lot of fun.  I like the mohair and wigwam the best so far.  Zanzibar feels really nice too.

Max is upset that he is missing his picture with Santa this year.  Here is his official Christmas 07 photo.   


Happy Holidays!

December 20, 2007

Special Delivery

Posted in Max's World, Purls of Wisdom tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:22 am by Jenn

The weather here has been snowy and wet over the past two weeks and poor Max has been getting so dirty that I have to wipe him down every time we come in from a walk.  Scott said today on the way out the door “Max could use a bath”.  I took that to mean, Jenn give Max a bath.   This picture is taken just after I said, “Max do you want a bath?” 


Notice the look of horror on the little man’s face?  Poor fella.  He was so traumatized by the scrubdown that he crawled up in the linen closet and took an hour long nap.  Look at the poor thing.  He barely fits in there.

 Max After Bath

Well, as I mentioned yesterday today was a big day.  Mail day! I must say I was pleasantly surprised that a few things arrived already.   There were a few things for my Silver/Grey Swap partner.   One more item and her box is ready to go and my first swap will be fulfilled.  The yarn came today and I must say it is beautiful.  I can’t give you anymore information or it will totally ruin the surprise for her if she’s reading this, but I wish I would have ordered some for myself, it’s that nice.

My knitting needles for the Christmas project came!  Now I can get working on that and hopefully have it finished in time. 

My friend Debbie and her mom Lynn sent me two incredible Christmas ornaments.  Lynn (Arts-Amore-A) is an artist and these are handpainted by her.


The boat is of course a Shrimp boat, since we just moved from Sneads Ferry, NC home of the Shrimp Festival.  Handpainted on the back is Sneads Ferry, 2007.  The second ornament is very pretty.  It is green, red and white painted on the inside (I think), very nice and they are both hanging proudly on our tree.

 And this arrived today

Christmas Yarn Exchange

 I signed up for the Christmas Yarn Exchange through Pick Up Sticks.  You order a skein of yarn and you get a skein of yarn.  The skein you purchase is delivered to someone else.  So, I know who ordered my yarn, but I don’t know what she’s ordered yet.  I haven’t peeked inside.  The package is really pretty.  It’s a green velvet bag with candy canes and bows.  On the inside of the card it gives the email address of the person who ordered the yarn so that I can email her to let her know my package arrived, and how I like it.

 We also received some nice Christmas cards.  It’s so nice to get a handwritten note, with today’s internet you don’t get many handwritten letters/cards anymore.

And finishing off today’s mail were the 12 Days of Christmas mugs  to go with the plates that I ordered on Ebay about a month ago, and a big box from my in-laws.  There’s bound to be some goodies from Grandma Church in there.  YUM.

We had friends over to play RISK tonight and it was a lot of fun.  It looks like Wednesday is not not only Mail Day, but Game Night.  And on that note, I’m beat and going to bed. 

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