Thursday, February 28, 2008

The only Doctor you'll ever need....

I've received the first shipment of wool for my Doctor Who scarves. Ten skeins of Brown Sheep yarn--Nervous Green and Bev's Bear in this lot, the other five colors are shipping today or tomorrow from another store. The horror of blogging for me is that I can't remember if I had this conversation on my blog or not--the one about the Doctor Who scarves. Flighty, scatter-shot, blonde.... Yes, all appropriate adjectives for me.

OK, I've reviewed my blog in another window (Gods, I love my new internets) and find we have not had this chat. So, yes, honey, the credit bill looks a bit large and scary this month. Let me 'splain.

My priest (he of the nephew with the mittens) is a large fellow. Tall, yes, round, yes. He asked me a few weeks ago if I would knit him a scarf, as he cannot find one that doesn't end up looking like a cravat on him once he gets it wrapped around the neck. He mentions one he's seen--long, lots of colors. I immediately recognize what he's talking about--a Doctor Who scarf.

The scarf worn by Tom Baker, who was, I do believe, the fourth Doctor, is the infamous Doctor Who Scarf (there were two, but most people only think of the first one in wool, not the chenille.) The original scarf was around 20 feet long, post blocking, and kept growing (as something so long and heavy is wont to do,) so they were constantly cutting the damaged chunks out instead of repairing them and it's had several lengths in it's long and storied history. But always over 14 feet. It's not crazy wild colorful, but it's got seven different colors (mustardy gold yellow, khaki green, wine purple, dark brown, tan, gray that's sort of blue-ish and red.) I know about these scarves, because I had been mentally dabbling in the idea of perhaps one day making one for myself. I am a bit of a pervy Who fancier myself (haven't seen Baker's Who yet, but my current favorite is Peter Troughton--he really set the pattern for the eccentricities that have come out in the role--don't get me wrong, I love both Christopher Eccleston's and David Tennant's turns at the role, but Troughton showed them how it's done, imho), and the notion of a 20 foot long scarf amuses me probably more than is socially acceptable. Of course, I kept telling myself, Self, that's 1,680 square inches of wool. That ain't gonna come cheap-like, or easy. And then Self would whisper back, Yes, but it will be fun. And it's all garter stitch! You could knit in the dark! You could knit in your sleep! Come on, we'll giggle like a couple of schoolgirls in kneesocks and manga hair while we're knitting it. You know you'd love to have one.

And, I confess, Self is most persuasive. So I was already pricing out yarn and trying to find the right colors in Brown Sheep yarn (the recommended colors on the Doctor Who Scarf website; as I've not seen the actual episodes yet in which said scarf stars, I must rely on the kindness, and visual acuity, of strangers), when I get the request for a second Doctor Who scarf, not because he's a fan, but because he's tired of inadequate neck coverage in cold weather. O, the Kismet!

So I decided to just go for it. What the hell! Self is right, we'll have fun with it. If nothing else, it will be a further sign of my extreme geekiness. I had to wait until I got my tax refund (ay, mio Dio, even the cheap wool ain't really all that cheap! Fangurlgeekdom comes at a steep price) before I could buy the wool, but once I got the go-ahead from my priest (ie, confirmed that it was the scarf he was talking about and that he was serious), I choked a bit and ordered 34 skeins of Brown Sheep Naturespun yarn in the seven colors needed. I won't go into details, but before shipping, the yarn for both scarves was a bit over $100. DO NOT PANIC. I am getting reimbursed for the part I'm doing for Fra A. My scarf I'm eating (but I'm also keeping, and as I've pointed out to someone, if I ever got caught in an avalanche, the water-proof and heat-retaining properties of the wool ensure I could safely line my snow cave and drink melt water in relative warmth and dryness until the dogs find me.)

I'm a sick, sick woman. I've been looking forward to getting this yarn for the past two weeks. I can't cast on yet, because the first color is one that is in the batch that shipped today. *twitch, twitch* Need. Yarn.

And how handy is this: When I started my mother's lace scarf (the blue one, two or three posts down) I bought size 5 needles, bamboo, 14 inches. I totally need size 5 needles, 14 inches long, for this scarf! It's fate, I tell you. Fate. We were meant to be.

Just like me and Javier Bardem. Woof.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Yes, but now I'm posting from my NEW computer.

I shouldn't be riffing on a certain digital voice commercial, especially considering I don't use them and am not using their system now (in fact, I think I'm bogarting the wireless from the apartments next door. Their dogs pee on the privacy hill, I bogart their bandwidth. Fair enough.)

Anyway, I'm using my nice, shiny new computer. It's got Vista. So, yeah, I've been trying to deal with the OS for the past...two hours now. After the frustration of my commute home, it was not pleasant. Oh, well.

I'm trying to figure out how my media drives work. The xD card slot doesn't seem to be quite right, but it won't load my camera software, either. Suck. I'm going to have to do mental maths on this somehow.
Ha! I got it to work! I am so the beyatch!
Sunspots again. Sigh.
My laceweight from Knitpicks. Caribbean, Trail and Red Hat, all wound up on my yarn winder. I like my new toy. Now I just need an umbrella swift.
Some fingerless mitts I made up on the spur of the moment (I say; it took something like four hours on a Sunday evening to make them) out of Lion Brand yarn (Landscapes, color Rose Garden). I don't like pink, so I'm mystified that I would so fall in love with this yarn. But I have.
The lunar eclipse from last night. Not bad, when you consider I was taking the picture without a tripod while shivering. It's sideways, too. The little white speck at the bottom should be on the left. Oh, well.
I better stop bogarting bandwidth now. Never know when someone will get bitchy, and my firewalls aren't up. Then again, I haven't got my computer files migrated yet, so I think I'm safe until everything goes up on Saturday.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Well, minor. I can't understand why, when I'm transferring electronic money, it takes so freakin' long to get from one financial institution to another. Particularly when I've used both before, transferring money back and forth. It drives me crazy.

I've chosen my computer, I know which one I want. I have a link to the appropriate page online, and I'm just waiting for the stupid money to move to buy it. *gnashes teeth in frustration, aggravating her TMJ*

Oh, well. I'll definitely be able to order by Friday (when I get paid again), so I get to go shopping at some point this week. Then, I'll clean up this poor little machine and get it ready to be an internet only machine for my mother-a genteel retirement the poor thing so richly deserves.

It's pitiful, but I've been thinking about losing weight this weekend. Oh, not for health reasons or to look better, no. I want to knit and design sweaters for myself, but I don't want to spend all my money on yarn. Sad. Of all the possible reasons to have for wanting to make such sweeping changes in behavior, I'd think knitting is probably the lamest. I won't admit it to anyone else (but you, dear blog, since you're just ever so private and secret and all), if they ask, I'll just say I want to wear skin tight pleather (yick, the sweat!)

I've already got a primary design in mind for the first sweater I'd like to make. It adjusts a pattern I found in Knit Three Ways, which was an interesting book, even if I wouldn't actually buy it. I got it at the library. Anyway, I like the two-toned theme of the sweater pattern "Ruby", but I'm thinking it could be jazzed up by shortening sleeves and better shaping of the trunk (even though I'm prone to the size and shape of a baby walrus, I'm fortunate to have a waistline) and using satin ribbons to make the knitted parts of the bodice smaller (I'm expressing it badly, but it will work--or at least it does in my head.) But in order for it not to make me look like an overstuffed sausage, I need to debulk myself. I'll never be twiggy, but it wouldn't look quite so strange on a smaller me.

I might start designing, anyway, just to have the numbers ready to go (and to choose yarns carefully) when I'm actually ready to knit. I've already started eating more plants. Actually, I'm finding I rather like them, when I am given license to eat them the way I want. I'm such a rebel. The next big hurdle: getting off my fat butt and exercising. If only I could knit on the treadmill!

Friday, February 1, 2008


Today's post is going to be, of necessity, short. My computer (don't get me wrong, I do love my little machine) is on its last circuits. I'm not sure how much longer it will continue to labor on under my senseless and cruel computing demands. I'm waiting for my tax refund in order to get a new machine for the webs. Then I shall unburden this wee babby and use it for a travelling model. Which would work--it runs the newest version of Office, if only just barely.

Anyway, I made chicken and dumplings for dinner tonight, hence the title of the post. It's not done yet, and I'm pretty sure it will be heinous. But, like a particularly messy automobile accident, I cannot look away and am actually looking forward to trying it out. Sick? Why yes, yes I am.

I made up a recipe last weekend that did NOT fail, and in fact helped my mom when she was so ill she didn't want to eat. She encouraged me to write it down, so I'll share it with you. I tend to do things by nose and taste, so I'm sorry for the half-assed instructions:

1 tube polenta (I used the kind with basil and garlic flavor, but you can choose your own favorite flavor/plain incarnation)
2 10oz cans of chicken, white and dark meat mix
most of a jar of spaghetti sauce (I use Meijer organics; they have good flavors)
half a large white onion, chopped
5-7 cloves of garlic, sliced
parmesan cheese
half of a smaller bag of mozzarella cheese shreds (to taste, really.)
olive oil
small baking dish, about 9x9 or so

In a large, high-sided skillet (I used a teflon wok, actually, which I can't use as a wok as teflon off-gasses at wok-like temperatures, but it's perfect as a high-sided saute pan), drizzle enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Over medium high heat, cook the onions and garlic until soft (about 7-10 minutes). Drain chicken and add, heat through (another 5-10 minutes), pour half the jar of sauce into the pan, warm through.

Slice the polenta thinly enough to make two layers in the dish. Put one layer on the bottom of the dish, pour the chicken mix over it. Sprinkle it with the cheeses (I used a very light sprinkling, I think the next time I do it I'll make it thicker.) Add the second layer of polenta, drizzle some of the cold sauce on top (it's just the way I did it; I didn't want to dirty two pans. You do need to put sauce on top to keep the polenta from drying out and turning into very thick, very nasty tortilla chips. I'm just saying I didn't heat it through first.) Top with a thick layer of cheese.

Heat the oven to 350, pop the dish in for 35 minutes--just until the cheese melts. You can hit it with the broiler to make it all nice and toasty, if you like. Enjoy with a sweet red wine (ok, ok, that's just me. But it would be fabulous with a nice, crispy salad on the side.)

It's quick, it's dirty, it's tasty. I like using the mixed white and dark meat from the can, it seems to give more flavor. You could also probably use a nice mild Italian chicken sausage in there with the canned meat--that may be the next incarnation.

Total pans dirtied: two
Utensils used: two (spoon for the sauce, knife to chop/slice all ingredients)
Flavor for the effort: pretty damn good.

My chicken and dumplings are done. Pray for me. *runs off for a bowl*

Actually, not bad. The dumplings are a little sweeter than I think they're intended to be(I ran out of whole milk, had to use evaporated mixed with skim),'s actually quite good. I guess I didn't do too badly after all!*

*Later note: Way better second day.