This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for November, 2009

OK, It’s Official and NaBloPoMo Is Over

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 30, 2009

I’m not eligible for any prizes because I actually missed the first two days. But I have blogged ever since Nov. 3, when I discovered the NaBloPoMo site and have posted more than a couple extra entries, so I feel that I’ve earned it. 😛

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Cat Pants

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 30, 2009

That strange knitting commission I mentioned in October has come back to haunt me. Masha and her friends want me to knit a pair of pants for a particular cat, like the ones on this cartoon character.


She just sent me the cat’s waist circumference — 59 cm! That’s 23 inches. This is like knitting pants for a child, except that the legs are a lot shorter. No wonder this cat is on a special diet.

I asked her whether they’d taken the measurements correctly, pulling the tape snug around the “waist”. Indeed, they had. She did warn me that he’s a very big cat. Apparently the colour isn’t critical, so we agreed on bright red.


Posted in Crafts, knitting | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Blog Backups with Google Reader

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 30, 2009

Abandoned CDs

I stumbled upon this yesterday, when mailing myself something that I’d read in Google Reader, the popular RSS feed aggregator. I have subscribed to my own feed since the fourth posting and it dawned on me that I could mail my own RSS feed to myself.

Important note: This only works for backing up small numbers of postings. If you go over a certain limit (a sure sign is when Google Reader displays a capcha), Reader thinks you’re a spammer and locks you out for a few hours. You can switch to another browser until this happens again but you will get locked out eventually if you’re not careful. If you already have a backup routine and want a little extra security, this is an easy method.


Today is November 30, 2009, the end of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for November. Actually, every month is a NaBloPoMo month, but I didn’t know that when I signed up on Nov. 3, so I’m actually short by two blog postings, officially.

It was an interesting exercise. At first it was much harder to find things to blog about. One thing that helped was to line up draft postings for Friday and Saturday, because the time around Shabbat is busy and I don’t always find something bloggable in my kitchen or laundry room. I didn’t notice any increase in traffic. I think that the only way to guarantee that is to cross-post to the NaBloPoMo blog site, which is essentially blogging twice. I did that a couple times, then lost patience.

I’m glad I tried to stick with daily blogging and I’m relieved to reach the end of the month. The kind of things I blog about don’t really lend themselves to daily posts, unless I want to turn this into a daily photo site (to do that, I would have to get out a lot more).


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Papercraft Video: Going West

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 29, 2009

I love this! “Going West,” By Maurice Gee. Produced for the NZ Book Council.


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Lady with Unicorn: Week One

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 29, 2009

Lady with Unicorn

I took this photo a couple days ago to show my progress for the first week. Over 500 stitches so far!

I also ordered a floor stand for my frame. I didn’t think I would ever be able to afford one, but my friend and Oasis Guild buddy, Donna, is dying for a floor stand. Two stands ordered together from the UK means that the postage is only half the cost instead of equal to the cost of the stand. Even so, it’s a lot less than we would pay for a floor stand from the US. We’re both very excited about it.

Because of the scale of the piece it’s nearly impossible to figure out what I’m embroidering unless it’s something obvious like a flag or a bird. I think these are leaves. The dark blues on the right appear to be foliage of a fruit tree.


Posted in Crafts, embroidery | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Jerusalem Graffiti

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 29, 2009

Jerusalem Graffiti

I photographed this graffiti on Eliash Street, behind haMashbir department store and the Migdal haIr office building. Graffiti in Jerusalem is seldom so colourful or elaborate. The area is a loading dock behind some of the stores on King George street.

When I was examining the photos the next day on my computer, I noticed this sign from the Jerusalem municipality’s Dept. of Culture stenciled on the wall. This is an officially designated graffiti zone!

The notice says: “Permitted graffiti zone. One who writes or draws on this wall will not be fined. Please do not leave political graffiti or advertisements.”

Graffiti Permission


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Jerusalem Flash Mob for Hanukkah

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 28, 2009

This Nefesh beNefesh ad is making the rounds on the Internet. It’s not as impressive as the lovely Sound of Music flash mob in Antwerp or the T-mobile ad in the Liverpool Street Station, but it’s cute.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that the choreographer is Marvin Casey, an African-American, Irish, Scottish, Native American choreographer who lives in Jerusalem. (He was recently interviewed by the Jerusalem Post, but that article is no longer free so I’m not providing a link.) He’s the guy in front —  the only one in the video who really knows how to dance.


Posted in Israel | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Cauliflower Love

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 27, 2009


Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables. I love photographing it in its raw state and I love eating it, either cooked or raw. I don’t think I could ever tire of cauliflower. This photo was taken in my kitchen, lit by the natural light coming through the window. The background was the stainless steel sink, far enough to be dark and shadowy.

Here’s a simple, fool-proof recipe. It’s so simple that even calling it a recipe seems a stretch. It’s more of a method of cooking. Roasting works for almost any vegetable. This week’s choice was the head of cauliflower in the photo.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 large head of cauliflower
2 tbs virgin olive oil
1 tsp thyme (I used dry but fresh thyme would be even better)
3 cloves of garlic (or to taste), peeled and slivered
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the head of cauliflower into florets and stems so that they’re a fairly uniform size. Drizzle with olive oil so that the florets glisten. Tuck in slivers of garlic. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper.

Roast in a heavy casserole dish at 400F for 45 minutes, turning with a spoon every 10 minutes or so, scraping the bottom of the pan so that the garlic doesn’t get stuck to the bottom and burn. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn. You want the cauliflower to have slightly charred edges.

Variations: Broccoli florets work well. Devra added carrots cut into coins, omitting the thyme because she wasn’t sure her kids would like it, and said the recipe was a big hit with her family.

Kosher Cooking Carnival #48

I contributed my recipe for sourdough na’an to the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival. Check out the other recipes!


Posted in Food, recipes | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

It’s Thanksgiving! (for Americans, that is)

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 26, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! Although I’m Canadian and my husband is English, we were  invited to an American Thanksgiving dinner and I was asked to bring a pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce.

I’m not normally a pumpkin pie fan but I think this one turned out well. I used the food processor method of making a pie crust because I had just come home from a dental appointment (complicated root canal — you don’t want to know). The recipe calls for margarine and soy milk because the pie will be served with a turkey dinner. If that’s not a concern, feel free to substitute dairy products.

As for the sauce, it’s straight from the can. The imprint of the bottom of the can evokes so many happy memories for people. 🙂

Parve Pumpkin Pie

Yield: 9″ pie

Pie shell

150 gm flour
100 gm cold, had margarine
50 gm very cold water

Cut margarine into pieces. Pulse with flour in food processor until it looks like very coarse sand. With the processor running on low speed, dribble the water into the flour and margarine. Stop the machine as soon as the dough starts to come together. Shape into a thick disk and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450F. Roll dough on a lightly floured board into an 11″ circle and place in 9″ pie pan. Save trimmings for leaf decorations. Prick all over with fork and place double layer of aluminum foil on top to keep it from bubbling up. Bake the pie shell for 10 minutes or until edge starts to colour slightly. Cool slightly.


1-15 oz. can (about 1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Lower heat to 350F. Mix all filling ingredients with an electric hand mixer. Pour filling into pie shell. Roll out leftover pastry and score with knife to form veins. Gently place leaf pastry shapes on top of filling.

Bake at 350F for 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.


It has been one year since the Mumbai massacre. I didn’t know the Holzbergs, the Israeli couple murdered with other hostages at the Chabad House (may their memories be for a blessing). My friend and former office mate, Kath, was also in Mumbai. I was very relieved when I logged on and saw her tweets and Flickr videos of the news coverage. Hurray for modern technology!


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Pampas Grass at Sunset

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 25, 2009

Someone was working on my computer yesterday, trying to debug a program. I took my camera out to the courtyard at work, around dusk. It had rained earlier that day, so the sky was still cloudy. Unfortunately, the pampas grass is surrounded by a fence and has limited access by foot, so I didn’t have much choice in the angles and shots I could take.

Pampas grss at sunset

Pampas grass at sunset

Pampas grass at sunset



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