Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Mmmm. I was watching Bizarre Foods last night, and it was making me hungry. Sounds strange, I know, but the episodes I was watching, he was in Asia. I love Asian foods--Japanese, Chinese (of all varieties), Thai, Korean.... Yeah. Lesson one in food allergies: You don't get allergic to things you're never exposed to.

Ahem. So, anyway. I was jonzin' for some potstickers. I mean, seriously jonzin'. Today, my father, my wonderful, wonderful father, went to the local German butcher shop, where they very kindly (and for, I'm sure, adequate financial renumeration) took a pork shoulder and ground it up. Et voila:

Be chill. That's balsamic vinegar in the bowl. Granted, it's been a while since I last had soy sauce, but it's a very similar taste. A little sweet and not salty enough, but close.

I gorged.

Dooooo do. Dooooooo do. Doo do doo do dooo do doooo do.....

After sharing my pork bounty (and store bought wonton wrappers totally rock) with Msr. Le Sharkie there, I decided to post. Heh. What you don't see in that picture above is the glass of elderberry mead I've been drinking. Lucky you.

Tonight I had to attend church services. Be the only singer for the English speaking service (well, there's a second, but she's very pregnant, so I can't just assume anything) and you will go to church more than you've ever done in your life. Anyway, we have a very pretty church. And, having a large number of Hispanic members, we tend to decorate for the holidays like you wouldn't believe. Never let it be said that Hispanic craftsmen are unskilled:

Our creche. I don't know what that 'rock' is made of, but there's a small side altar underneath all that. The blue robed shepherd is at about the level of the altar, Mary, Joseph and Sweet Baby Jesus are on top of the tabernacle. Oh, but look!

Pig! Would there really be pigs in a pen for domesticated animals in Judea in the first centuries BCE/CE? Or any other era? I doubt it. I think it's safe to say the Middle Eastern pork industry is...not sizeable. But he's kind of cute, anyway. They've also added a cardinal (which I didn't get a close up of, owing to there's a Wise Man in the way of a clear shot) and another bird that looks much more like a wren than any Middle Eastern bird. Then again, I've never been, so I'm not sure what sort of bird they have. Maybe they even have cardinals in Bethlehem.

These are our windows (the upper rows--there's a whole 'nother set under those arches at the bottom). I feel there will be fair isle pattern modeled after those windows. Just have to decide what I'm going to make of them. And then find yarn that has the same/similar colors (which will be hard, as the glass is variegated, even within the same colors). Ah, but very pretty!

I don't celebrate the new year on this date (I know it's a calendar thing, I just don't think mid-winter is really the time to celebrate a new beginning), so I'll be off to bed soon. Happy new year to them as what celebrates tonight. Slan.

In 2009, may your milk never curdle, your hens always lay and your husband remember your anniversary. ;-)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I shouldn't be allowed to wander unsupervised.

I would feel shame, but I have none, apparently. Today has been a very strange one--we were supposed to go out for Father's birthday, which was two weeks ago, but then he got a bit of stomach upset from the hot mustard he had with his egg roll last night, so we decided not to. Then, I realized I had to go out anyway, as Dog needed more doggie Depends (ie, house training pads), so he and I went shopping at the local pet store that allows four-legged customers to come in and do their own shopping, as it were. This created a bit of a problem; another canine customer was most impolite, huffing and cussing at Dog, calling him names. Then, Dog came over all shy at the register, and it took me forever to realize he might be embarassed. I mean, here he is, a dog, standing next to a woman buying canine incontenence pads. Geeze. Maybe we can get them shipped to the house in plain cardboard boxes or something in future.

Anyway, I took him home to recover from the ordeal, and went to Joann's (they are having really great clearance/sales at present.) I kind of want to make a Christmas stocking like this one on Lisabee Designs, and thought I'd pick up some worsted weight at a good price. The unfortunate thing is, though, that they don't have worsted weight yarn in any jolly colors. Well, no jolly colors aside from screaming, fire engine/holly berry red and hysterical Kelly greens. I'm quite disappointed. Oh, well. But at least now I have an idea of how I'm going to use the $50 gift certificate I got for KnitPicks now.

And, I have a confession. Since I brought Christmas in under budget (and with more items in bags and wrap than anticipated for the happy receivees), I decided to blow the $20 I would have spent on yarn if they'd had it on something else. Just random yarn, just because. And I brought this home:

No, your eyes do not decieve you. That is Vanna White's face on the label. I know there should be no judgement based on the label, the yarn should speak for itself, but I can't help but feel a little embarassed to say I bought yarn shilled by that chick who turns letters and claps on Wheel of Fortune. But it was so eye-catching, I really fell for it before I even saw the ball band. I realized after I took this picture that it doesn't do the yarn justice. So I retook the image:

This shows it better. When I saw the yarn, it was in the next to the bottom bin, gleaming mysteriously from the shadowy deeps. I couldn't justify buying two of them (see, there's this picture of Vanna White on the front) but I figure I can do some sort of really netty-mesh scarf/headband out of it. With tassels. I like tassels.
Then I also got two skeins of Moda Dea Bamboo Wool in Blue Velvet. Not a fan of David Lynch, but the color is gorgeous, and I do have that pattern I originally developed for the alpaca that needs a yarn. I like the bluey-purpley colors in this yarn, and it's got great hand in the skein. We'll see how it acquits itself in the finished fabric.

This is said alpaca, being knitted up in a garter stitch pattern from the huge stitchionary I have which was badly translated from the Italian. After I corrected several problems in the pattern, I started working it. It doesn't look like the image in the book--then again, the image in the book is knitted up in colors with more contrast than these--but I still quite like it. Rather clean and tailored look to it. And it's nicely squooshy, but that, I believe, is the alpaca.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Reasons why I need to move out even though it scares me to do so

1. My place, my television, my remote. Which means that if I feel like it, I can turn the (*$@)&#@$#&#@^@# thing off. Whenever I want. Not tonight--it's Dirty Jobs marathon on Discovery Channel. Mike Rowe. Yum. I will have to sell plasma so I can keep basic cable/satellite.

2. The dog and I can Without the nagging, the anxiety over what/how we're doing, if we're going for a walk, what we're eating...just. Be.

3. No more assumptions that, whatever I may be doing at the time, be it making my own dinner, feeding the dog, cleaning up vomit or neurosurgery, I should just drop it so I can pick up a piece of paper someone else doesn't want to bend down for.

4. Uninterrupted knitting time in the evenings. Or reading. Or watching Mike Rowe wade through a lot of water in a tight pair of jeans and wet t-shirt. Whatever. Reference number 3 above to see why my knitting and reading time would somehow be interrupted. Sheesh.

5. Thermostat control (or at least the option of keeping a space heater right in front of my chair.)

I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I really have no choice at this point. And if I don't grow up and take responsibility for myself now, when the hell do I think I'm going to do it? I hope there's room in the budget for satellite. It's only $20 a month, although if I bundle my phone and internet with the cable, all three can be as low as $65..... Yeah. I think I can do it.

Anyway, I've got a serious case of Startitis right now. I started my music theory scarf, lost interest. I started up again on the lace project that is no longer Christmas knitting but now birthday knitting, screwed up one row from the end of my second repeat and have to frog back. Damn. Now I'm thinking of starting up on my alpaca scarf again. I've decided to frog the lace I've got (although I like the pattern I came up with and will use it again) and go with a daisy stitch pattern. AND I want to start up with my Malabrigo in the Mariposa colorway.

So much to do, so much to do....

I'd better go eat something. I've been off my feed (the holidays do take it out of me), and maybe read some of my book. Tomorrow I will do my daisy scarf with the alpaca. I hope it'll be nice and drapey if I use slightly larger needles than I'd started with before.

Sigh. And then I hope I keep up with it until I get over myself, frog that darn lace scarf back to the fifth repeat (I had almost finished the seventh before I magically lost a stitch) and start back up again. You only lose when you quit, but right now I'm sulking. Hey, if you admit it, it's not all that bad!

Hope you had a merry Christmas. Aside from my Startitis, I did.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sofa King Cold

OMG, how much do I hate winter? So very, very much. Today was the coldest day of the winter thus far (and we're only just officially in winter), and it was miserable.

It totally doesn't help that the heat was off at work. Last week, I got moved to a new desk, under the stairs, in the old house that serves as an office building for us. Prior to that, I did whine a lot about how cold my old desk was (and it was), but this new desk under the stairs was nice and toasty and warm on the toes--even though it sits right up against a huge window (currently swathed in plastic and a blanket provided by me), there is a heat vent right underneath it. Whenever the heat would kick on, there were a few seconds of icy air as the stuff already in the vents was pushed out before the lush, warm air would surface and be instantly sucked up by my exothermic legs. Ahhh.

So today, the heat being off was like...the betrayal of the promise. I was frozen. Cryogenic levels of frozen. So. Cold. And I'm miserable enough in sub-tropical conditions. Cold, cold, cold. I got a bit sniffy about the house in an email (well, about the cold in the house, but it's a fine enough distinction) so I'll probably get called out and fired. Then again, I always feel about six seconds from being fired even under the best of conditions, so it shouldn't be a surprise when I do.

My feet are still frozen, but I left work early to get to heat (the heat started working a bit before I left, like an hour and a half before, which wasn't enough time to make it comfortable all the way on the first floor, where I sit), and have decided to start work on a warm project I've been percolating for a while. It won't make any sense to anyone but me and maybe a couple of other people, but I feel a strange, perverse draw to knitting something archane. It'll make me giggle, if nothing else, and considering how insecure I am otherwise, that can't be a bad thing.

I'm off for some soup then some knitting. If I can find the pattern I totted up several months ago....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pretty sky

On the drive home today, I was most impressed by the light show being put on by Mother Nature. The sky was a luminous blue, highlighted with glowing tangerine clouds that drifted across the lemon moon. It was incredible. As I arrived at home, the clouds overhead were so intensely golden, it seemed the sky was on fire. I ran in, trying to get the dog out (and my camera) as quickly as possible, and managed to get some of the show

Pardon the bright, pale bushes in front. It took me forever to cope with my PHD digital (I miss my Rebel; I don't miss paying to develop film, though) and figure out that if I turned the flash on, the colors came out much closer to the reality.

This is even better, right as the sun started to drop behind the horizon, the sky got really intense. I think I have yarn this color. Again, apologies for the tree--it's very hard to find an aspect in my neighborhood that isn't crowded with flora.

Sister Moon walked along with us. She was ducking behind her veils as Dog and I took our brief perambulation (he was getting in a temper with me, since I kept saying "Stop! Stop!" and hauling out the camera, removing glove, composing picture, etc, etc, while he was trying to get his walk on.)

And then I got really-really smart, and realized I could just shoot straight up. The golds came out quite muted (the bottom edges of the clouds were more...mustard than showed up in this picture), but it's not too far off.
I had a bit of a brief health scare yesterday. I went for my bi-annual spot check at the dermo. My dark spots are looking quite well, but she's concerned over a bump I've recently developed on my forehead. We're letting it sit for the while, but as my mother has recently developed several basal cell carcinomas, and as I seem to have inherited her skin.... I'm young, though. Too young. Not that 35 is too young for cancer, but if I've developed basal cell (granted, the kind of skin cancer you want if you've got a choice) it means I'm more likely to develop other cancers later--it doubles the odds.
I was all droopy and unhappy for the day, then realized: a woman's lifetime risk of, say, breast cancer (the most common cancer in women, not linked to smoking) is 1 in 8. 12%. And most of that is post menopause, which for me is probably at least 20 years off. So, if I do have basal cell cancer on my face (which really isn't likely--as I mentioned, Mother has had several and I know what they look like, and that one on my head? Not like them), and if the research that says developing it younger doubles your risk of cancer later, that's still only 25% risk I'll develop breast cancer. I'd play those odds. Really, not bad odds if you want the truth.
And, when you get down to it, my lifetime cancer risk is what it always has been, just now I know it's higher than I'd assumed. So I'm going to start being even more vigilant about my veggies. And my exercise. And get the screenings I'm supposed to, because I am getting older and I should. Yet again, le sigh. But I shouldn't be so puny about it: prior to this, my odds looked even better that I'd end up done in by heart disease. I probably have way better odds than my coworkers who smoke like chimneys. And, if it always comes down to it, I can always take up bungee jumping, base jumping and rock climbing with no ropes. I always did want to go out in exciting fashion.
Besides, as my university health teacher told us, don't worry too much about what the researchers say, it's breathing that does you in, eventually. (Oxidation joke.)
(Probably funnier in context.)
Now, I must off to paperwork for work (benefits garbage; I hate having to do this every year, particularly now, but as needs must....) And maybe I'll let myself have a piece of my French chocolate if I'm a good girl and don't whine. Mmmm.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What is it

about a species that produces quite a few individuals who wouldn't drive over broken pavement too quickly in their car for fear of ruining the shocks or whatever, who probably park sideways so no one can ding their paint finish, yet think nothing of turning right on red at a corner where you can't see oncoming traffic?

I wonder sometimes.

For those following along at home, Dog is doing much better, thank you. He's on flax seed oil and melatonin (don't ask), and has come all the way down to under 96 ounces of water a day. Less if we don't give him too many treats. We're working on that.

He seems happy enough on the melatonin and flax seed (and seems to be sleeping very well), so I'm pleased.

The lengths I'll go to....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Merry Christmas to me!

I always get myself something for Christmas, being as I'm really the only person (but one, but I'm pretty sure I already know what she's getting me this year) who ever gets me what I really, really want. And this year, what I decided I really, really wanted was this:

Cherry Hill Sockittome yarn in the "Les Fleurs" colorway of the Impressionist Series. I've been nursing a serious woody for yarn in the Impressionist series since I first read about it in Interweave Knits this summer, and it's taken me this long to nail down precisely a) which yarn I wanted, and b) which colorway. Gods above, below and all around me, it's hard to make a choice like that! They're all so beautiful, so luscious, and I'm such a closet hedonist..... Well, maybe not so closeted.

Anyway, I finally decided on the Sockittome as it had the most yardage in the finest yarn for the buck, and then of the Sockittome colors, "Les Fleurs" was prettiest on my monitor. It turns out (in real life) to be a lot more...antique roses and champagne. I rather like it. I felt all French just looking at it, which is odd, considering I'm much more an Anglophile than Francophile. Whatever--the yarn is magical, I guess.

Maybe I'll tweak the Froggies and knit a pattern I found in an ancient doily pattern book at my local lending called "Tudor Rose". Ooh, the thought makes me want to snigger.

I'm a bad, bad girl. But Santa came for me, anyway, and he didn't leave coal. Just 900 yards of superwash merino and nylon, dyed in the beautiful, beautiful colors of a dusty, steampunk city sunset.....