State of The Blog

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. You probably know this. I’m celebrating today by knitting a ton on my SALS, which is the best, and by wearing a green shirt, not day-glow green, but sort of a dusty green. I went out last night to celebrate at the Coffee house, which I would have done anyway, no matter what holiday weekend it is. I was actually stopped by the police on the way home. Silly me, I always thought that sobriety check points were for people driving, not for people walking past them. Who knew?

Officer: Do you have a minute?

Me: Sure.

Officer: So, where are you coming from?

Me: Sonnets Coffeehouse, over there.

Officer: Have you been drinking tonight?

Me: I wish.

Officer: So that’s a no?

Me: No, I haven’t been drinking. I’m just like this.

Officer: Okay, thank you, have a good night.

Me: I won’t but thanks anyway. You too.

I actually didn’t have that bad of a night. I was home by ten.

Today was a quite day, spent puttering around the house. I fixed a crockpot dinner, listened to Wait Wait don’t tell me again. (Have I subjected you all to my rant on crock pot food. You cook it all day, in the same pot, in the same juices, and thus, it all tastes exactly the same, which is usually a food I’m not crazy about even if it doesn’t taste like salty mush. I get it that those who work outside the home love it, because having food ready when you get home from work is like a gift from Santa Claus. Me, I sit at my desk writing a lot, so that smell rises to my nostrils all day, and by the time that I get ready to eat I want to run fleeing from the house because of the smell. I feel like I’ve eaten so much of it without having taken a bite.) (Also, I’m doing Swiss Steak and I started with four of them five hours ago. I just went and stirred it, and I now have three. Where the hell did the other one go. Did it walk out. Did the cat figure out how to open the lid and at the other one. Where the hell is it? The gravy doesn’t look that meaty. I can’t explain this. Aliens? Ghosts? Was Tom over?)

Still putting along on the TSLS. I don’t think that I’ll ever be done. I’m not sure that I want to be. That was a lie, for interests sake. I am really ready for this thing to be over.)

Shetland in Sun

There you have a lovely well-lit picture of what I have so far on my TSLS. What this picture fails to disclose, is about half the length of this thing — it really is reaching the floor in this picture. I swear I can’t seem to get this one right, the first one was so little  it was more of a doily, and this one will be more of a blanket than a shawl. That’s fine though, I need a blanket more so than a doily. (This thing makes for excellent morning coffee/naked knitting time. (It gets chilly.)

What else thing picture fails to show you is the fact that the white Angora I’m knitting the center square out of sheds like you wouldn’t believe. I can’t wear dark clothes around it — I have enough problems with shedding cats anyway. (They are always shedding, no matter what the season, I can’t explain this.)

What else this picture fails to show you is the current state of the desk. I don’t think it’s ever been quite this bad. Let me have a little looksee. On my left I try to keep personal things (cup of coffee, knitting, book I’m reading, that plate from that pie I ate this morning for breakfast — it was apple) and on my left, I try to keep work related things (A notebook with 50 handwritten pages of a novel, the notebook with 30 pages of notes on a different novel in progress, notes on some scholarship essays, a list of things I need to write up for another online newsletter/blog product, lists of things I still need to do for college, stacks of books that I still have to read for book and/or college prep.) It’s a wonder that I can get anything done in the face of all of this . . . stuff.  And of course, there is, underneath it all (somewhere) is the ever present, Knitting Workshop.

I tried to make a suffle this afternoon. Namely because it isn’t that hard to do, but always gathers ooh and ahhs. Well, I got the butter, flour, and milk part of it done, but then I went to add the eggs and discovered that I was all out. WHY AM I ALWAYS OUT OF EGGS!!! I’ll try again tomorrow, once I feel like walking down to the store for some eggs.

I do believe that’s all for now.

Arctic And Apples

This morning I got out of bed, went into the bathroom and opened the window to see what the weather was like. As I was hit with the blast of arctic air so cold it froze my nose up instantly I couldn’t help but think. “Oh shit, it’s going to be a multiple sock day.”

Living in Ohio takes fortitude, we all know this. You must put up with the people, the farms, the blisteringly hot summers, and the freezing cold winters. I know all this and do my best to deal with all this. However, when we got from a teasingly warm few days, wearing shorts while running warm, to wondering what on earth we all did to have the weather this cold, that I can’t stand.

I talk about the weather a lot though. It fascinates me in a way I haven’t been engrossed since I started stealing my mother’s romance novels. (I learned a lot from those books.) Still though, I’m sure that you probably have lost interest. Unless of course you live in Ohio, and then you are, like myself, utterly beguiled by this.

Last night at knitting, a woman gave me a couple of bags of fiber that she had declared that she wasn’t going to spin. Now, my wheel has been broken since spring, but she didn’t take this as a hint that I shouldn’t be collecting fiber. She gives me some stuff, which was very kind of her, and I put it in my friend’s car. When I got home, I grabbed it out of her backseat, said my goodbyes and got out. I took it upstairs, and lo and behold, I was one bag short. She’d given me two and I only had one. I looked around and then just figured I’d left it in Tracy’s backseat. Not a big deal. I then went outside to pee (leave me alone, it was dark out) and there was a bag of fiber. Only it wasn’t there. Yesterday was terribly windy, and as I left the house, it had started to take off. My neighbors were going to have an Alpaca lawn!

In my stocking feet I take off running across the sopping wet driveway and yard. I’m pulling fiber out of mud puddles and chasing down the ever dwindling bag. Thank god that my neighbors already think I’m crazier than a soup sandwich. I’m shrieking as I do this, I don’t know why, so all the dogs within a ten-mile radius start barking as I chase down fiber through the neighborhood.

I think I got most of it.

My mother is down stairs making apple dumplings. Long time readers will recall the deep-seated loathing that I have for these things. They are a pain in the ass to make, I don’t like them that much, and think that they really are much more trouble than they are worth, sort of like rice pudding.  And not to mention that any time she makes them I end up finishing them. I don’t know how this happens. She somehow eagerly starts them, then has a melt down over pie crust or something (rightly so) and then runs out of the kitchen crying. I just in and piece a piece of falling apart dough over a wet apple as best I can, get it all going right, and then by the grace of god she feels better in time to triumphantly take them out of the oven. This is another bone of contention in the spine of resentment.

The real kicker is when she says, “I made apple dumplings . . . Oh, and Garret helped a little.”

I made the biggest mistake of my life when I learned how to make those damn things. I wonder what sadist invented those thing and what on earth was done to him for it.

Good Days

I’ve just had the best day, and it’s likely to continue. Here’s where we are so far.

The day got off to a rocky start. My father called me this morning and asked me to measure some space in our kitchen. (The long, long, work in progress kitchen.) This was early -ish, so I was all grumpy and grumbling about doing this prior to coffee and about being woken up early on a Saturday. (I love both nights and mornings, odd, I know.)

The day quickly got better though, once I got some caffeine in me. I had a great morning working on my Hybrid Sweater (so close I can taste it) while listening to my beloved Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. It’d been a while since I’d listened to it, circumstances being what they are. (Don’t these people know that I have radio to listen to?) I’m moving right along on my Hybrid sweater. I have about ten more rows to do on the hem, weave in the ends and wash it, then I’ll be done with the Hybrid Sweater. (Don’t think I just whipped this thing off in a few weeks, it’s been on the needles since November 2nd.)

After I’d had a sufficient amount of NPR/coffee/knitting in me, at about one, I went for a walk. A long walk. I went the scenic route into town (i.e. three miles instead of one), and then went and just looked at books at the library. I then went to Subway and treated myself to some lunch. (Subway is the food of the gods as far as I’m concerned. I have this weird affinity for lunchmeat.) I went to the park and ate it there. (Memorial Park if it means anything to you. It’s really just a big pond, with a trial around it, and a few benches, lots of trees and things. It’s actually a pretty spot.) As I was getting up to leave I ran into a friend of mine playing Frisbee Golf. (Of all things. Tom does this sort of thing a lot, and yes, I make fun of him for it.) I followed him around and we had a great talk walking through tree lined lanes. Then my father came and got me because he needed help moving a dishwasher. (And I had just made my peace with having to wash dishes.)

So that was a good day. Yesterday was a good day too. My father and I went down to Amish Country and had a great time. He’s the sort of person who is great to do this sort of thing with. You know when you see some little country store on the side of the road you stop and think “What do they sell there?” He’ll stop and find out, which is so fun. We went to this little apple stand, where they had groomed the apple trees like topiary to grow at chest height. I discovered Ginger Beer, and I don’t know how I made it this far without that, it got better with every drink. I also tried Cucumber soda, which was a disappointment.

And, oh, this was fun. As we were driving over the Amish hills (I don’t know what makes those hills so cute, whereas the ones here are just a pain in the ass.) we crested a hill and I saw a sign that said, “Wool and More Store.” It was one of those “STOP THE CAR!!” moments. I have always wanted this sort of thing to happen to me.

The man there was lovely, your typical country man, happy to see any face. the selection of wool was small (probably why I didn’t buy anything) but it was all grown on his farm, on his sheep. A lot of what he had were craft show bears and rag-looking rugs. There was some fiber, which I would have bought, if my wheel was in a working condition. But I’ll see him again this spring at Wooster.

(Not to mention he talked about being a vendor at Maryland Sheep and Wool. My father was dumbfounded and intrigued by the knowledge that so many people went there and that it was such a big deal. He seemed rather interested. I don’t want to think about this. Also, I think it falls on his birthday this year. Again, don’t think.)

And I bought whole wheat flour and made whole wheat bread. My best bread yet. (And even better because, while I can’t get enough of it, the fact that it’s good of you seems to have turned off everyone else to it. Mine, all mine. )

 

This ‘n’ That

Progress is a funny concept. People want it in social trend, economic trend. Some what it in their love lives, and other’s want it in their education. Some people prefer it to be in their friendships, others want it in their careers. Some want their family to have some of it, and other’s would rather have some in the wonderful world of politics.

Me? I just would like to have some in my knitting.

Since my last post on Friday, I have made maybe a few hours worth of progress on my Rib warmer. Not really enough to merit a photograph. And those few hours have not been very productive ones at that. I feel like I’ve been working on it enough, but I know that I’m not. This is due to several things in my life.

1. My job. Who knew being a receptionist was such a complicated job? And then I had to sit through all that training bullshit, which I’m fine with, they did pay me for that time, but it was a little dull listening to him drone on about the fact that I can’t wear jeans.

2. Last week I ordered books from Amazon. So this week they’re all coming and I of course feel the urge to read them. This is good because I love reading, but bad because it’s not a good thing to do, read until two am, when you have to be up for work at seven. Suffice to say that I am reveling in books these days. I’m on one of my book sprees, where I’m simply reading night and day. I would say that I was on one of my literary sprees, but I really believe anything tied to Kathy Griffin cannot be deemed with the title of literary. (Still love you Kathy! Call me, we can lunch!)

3. The nice weather. I know it won’t last, so I’m trying to make the most of it. Making the most of it doesn’t include watching hours of TV with my needles. It’s things like going for walks, puttering around outside, and taking random breaks from my desk to just sort of wonder out to the porch. Suffice to say that I do that last one very often.

4. A little project I’m working on for a local non-profit. I’ll share in the fullness of time. This isn’t really taking more than a few hours, but it’s really a just another thing.

5. The current baking epidemic. In all reality this thing is worse than the flu, only the side effects, like sweet smells and trying to invent a perfect glaze or a recipe for muffins that doesn’t call for eggs. (That last one didn’t work out. The eggs were the last thing you added. I’d already been to the store once, and I wasn’t doing it again. What was the worst that could happen? Runny insides, crisp outsides. I need to invest in more Vegan cook books.)

See, I’ve got excuses. But none of them are really good enough. (Tonight, rice pudding!) I’ll work on getting something done tonight. I’m about one third of the way done with the actual rib warmer, then I’ve got the edging. (I’m hoping the bright scarlet edging will go well with the natural Icelandic wool.)

 

Wednesday

Last night dinner consisted of homemade pizza, with ginger bread for dessert. The night before I made a casserole with homemade biscuits. This whole Minnesota Housewife bit has not subsided though I’m starting to wish that it would. It’s fun, but really exhausting. Everyone else feels that they need to do more, and I yet feel like I need to do less. Odd, isn’t it?

I’m still knitting, though I must confess that I am not hybriding at the moment. Well, I’m typing now, but I haven’t picked up the hybrid for several days. I have just a little left to do on it then it’ll be done, but this thing has been in the works for a while, so a few more days won’t hurt it. I’m knocking off a few quick fixes for now.

I started the rib warmer. I would put a picture of it in right now, but I don’t have batteries for my camera and I don’t feel like robbing the remote for more, or figuring out the camera thingy for my computer. You’ll have to live with out seeing it.

I really am liking the knitting of this thing. It’s so fun and is going by so quickly. I’m about halfway done with the first piece of it, and it is just slipping by. That sort of thing happens with four stitches to the inch, even more so when you’re used to six to an inch. It just moves right along. I’m going to challenge myself, sort of, and see how fast I can knit it. I’m on day three so far, and may very well finish the first half of it today. I’m knitting it out of an Icelandic wool that I made myself. It’s as white as an unbleached yarn can be, and I plan to edge it in red. It is for me.

I wasn’t going to write anything today. I’m really tired and in the middle of a good book. I think I’ll go and get back to it now. There is nothing better than a book that you can’t put down.

Minnesota HouseFrau

Not much of anything to report. I always say or think that, but then in some devilishly curious way I manage to write five hundred words about, well, nothing. Funny isn’t it.  (I almost wrote ironic, but it wasn’t ironic. That’s one of my many New Year’s resolutions, to not say ironic when it isn’t ironic. The ironic part is I keep discovering all these resolutions that I don’t remember making. I wonder if I’ll still keep making these things up in April.)

I’ve finished one of the side saddles on the Hybrid sweater. This sweater is like a hybrid (hence the name) between a raglan and a saddle shoulder. It’s a saddle on top of a raglan. You decrease at the raglan rate till you have a number of stitches then you make saddles on top of them. The saddles are a little broader than on the regular saddle shoulder. And it’s got a much larger back saddle. Let me tell you, I will think long and hard about knitting anything at six stitches to the inch. Maybe five and a half, maybe. I enjoy the process, but still, this is just ridiculous. It just takes forever to do anything. I started this sweater on November second, and here I am, still plodding away on it. Granted I knit tons of other stuff in the process (Fishtrap Aran, Inner-directed shawl, countless Christmas presents). Still though, it is taking a while. I mean it’s fun to work on, and I am getting a great sense of accomplishment because I deserve every single row on it. It’s satisfying the way that baking bread is (and I’m a no-mixer-roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-kneading person) you feel the tactile feel of it, which is highly underrated . You lower yourself to the common denominator by kneading the bread, and I’m sort of doing that with this sweater. And the bread always tastes better without a mixer, I can’t explain this but it does, it really does.

While I’m on the subject of baking, take a look at this

.

Sorry for the bad picture, it was kind of dark out and I assure you that it had less powdered sugar on it than this picture would suggest.

This is a Linzer Torte. I didn’t know what that was until yesterday either. I thought, “It’s mostly sugar, butter and Almonds, what could go wrong.” A torte is like a cross between a cake and a pie. I think that they are really popular in Vienna. I am not sure what a Linzer is, and I’m still not 100% sure what a torte is.

I didn’t make it quite as written, which is probably not a good idea when you have no idea what you are making. It said to cut the butter in, and I melted it. It also called for grated almonds, but all I had were sliced almonds, and there is no way in hell that I am going to stand there and grate almonds. I chopped them up finely and figured that it would be good enough. I bake the same way I knit, (I’ll do whatever I want) it usually ends well, and often interesting, not unlike my knitting. I also think that in the end it’ll all work out. Of course if in knitting I can pull out bad knitting, and I can’t pull out a runny cake, conversely though, I can bake a cake a lot faster than I can knit a sweater.

I didn’t really care for it. It was too rich. Maybe less butter, more flour, less sugar. Or maybe I’m just bitter than it’s all already gone. I guess it went over well, though I don’t think that I’ll be making it again any time soon. It was more trouble than it was worth, like a lot of things in life.

But I learned stuff and I sort of had fun along the road. ( I love being up to my elbows in flour and shouting curse words because something went wrong. I realize how wrong this is.)

It was in The New York Times Cookbook in case you were wondering.

I’m thinking about gingerbread now. Yes, I am a Minnesota Housewife trapped in the body of a young man. I’ve got to go to the Lutheran Church now and make Lutefisk. And then throw up. Then make dinner.

And finish my sweater.