Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weather or Not

I swear, if it doesn't stop raining soon, I'm going sprout webbed feet and start quacking.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mindful Shmindful

There's only so much mindful knitting a human can take. I've reached my limit for the day and I have only one thing more to say to myself about that: you are so smart for putting in that lifeline! Go ahead, Rudee and pat yourself on the back.

I have 3 things to say to the designer:
  1. Since when has SSK meant SKP? I am doing it your way, but every single time I see SSK, I want to slip, slip knit, and you want me to slip, knit pass. Your way looks better, but when I see this, \, and this, SSK, my brain fights my fingers. I have to stop and think about what I'm doing a dozen times in each right side row.
  2. I wish you hadn't included the edges in the total stitch count. This confounds me, too.
  3. Your pattern is stunning. I can't really complain without offering up my profound respect for what your brain offered up to the rest of us knitters who don't, or can't, design. Amazing!
That said, I have ripped back once to the lifeline at the end of chart B and started again. Between rows 63 and 65, stitch counts go from 184 on the needles (yes, that includes 4 edge stitches) to 168 and then explodes to 280 stitches in one row. The larger holes at the bottom of the photos is where all that action happens. To say the least, I'm charmed. My first go around, I was off by just 2 stitches and couldn't find my errors, but the mistakes were enough to throw the pattern off. After all of this work, I wasn't going to live with a hole where none should be or a solid set of stitches where a hole should be. The decision was made, after counting and recounting the recalcitrant stitches (I recounted 6 times, duh), to rip back and start row 64 all over. Though it took awhile to catch back up, I think in the long run, I saved a bit of my sanity.

A Lifeline Runs Through It

Last but not least, I'd like to pay homage to the much maligned purl stitch. I hear plenty of knitters gripe about this poor little stitch. Some will only make items in garter stitch, or prefer knitting in the round in order to avoid the purl. I say, there's nothing like a complicated right side row to make a knitter appreciate the return row done in straight purl stitches. It's a thing of beauty, relief and mindless knitting.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Alternative Transportation

The news has been depressing lately, hasn't it? Makes me sad.

My honey sent me this the other day. I think I immediately felt 16 again (not that this is a good thing), but this song cheered me up.

Monday, October 26, 2009

An Ounce of Prevention

Last week, I went to the occupational health clinic at work and got my seasonal flu vaccine. They didn't have the H1N1 vaccine yet and don't know when it'll be delivered. When they do, it'll be rationed to staff working high risk areas first. I don't think hospice falls into that category. There's a public clinic tomorrow that I'm thinking of trying to attend, but recent events like this have had long, long lines. People started lining up at one last weekend at 4 in the morning. Since I can't sleep well anyways, maybe that's an option. If I were the first to get there, I wouldn't have to worry about milling around with thousands of (possibly sick) people standing on line, lowing like good little cattle.

There is a lot of overwhelming information out there and with all of the media hype and states of emergency, it's easy to feel a little frightened. Worse yet, I'm concerned people are becoming apathetic or developing the belief that all of the noise surrounding this flu is hyperbole. Conspiracy theories abound that this is a money maker for vaccine producers, but I find that premise hard to believe. Because it's novel, this particular influenza virus is nasty and although I don't work in critical care anymore, I still hear the stories from the trenches. In conversation with my respiratory therapy friends, incidents of influenza have been seen with devastating consequences for their patients all summer long, including people in all age groups. About a month ago, my sister forwarded an email from a colleague that explained his wife's harrowing ordeal with this virus over the summer, including over a week on life support, permanent pulmonary damage and the long road to recovery. His wife is about my age.

While I await my opportunity to offer up my deltoid muscle, I'm trying to stay healthy, eat right, wash my hands 100 times a day, stop touching my mouth, eyes and nose and get as much rest as my hormonal state allows. More importantly, I'm doing my best to avoid obviously ill people, but it isn't easy because people can be ignorant and down right rude. The other day, I stood on line at TJ Maxx while a woman at the register was trying to check out. In her arms, she was carrying a pile of clothing and her acutely viral child. His face was flushed, his body limp and his cough, frightening. I wanted to clobber her for taking her kid out in the cold rain when he was too sick to even offer up a protest. I'd have been less judgmental if I'd bumped into her in the cold and flu aisle at the pharmacy, but TJ Maxx? What was it she couldn't live without that day? To be fair, she could have been the smartest person in the world, but she didn't have a lick of common sense.

Have you read The Great Influenza by, John Barry? It's incredible. If you don't want to read his tome, why not give him a listen?

Have you gotten your H1N1 vaccine yet? Will you?

Looking Out my Front Door

There's no place like home when it comes to a vacation. One doesn't have to spend hours and hours traveling and effectively knocking 2 days off your relaxing vacation. If you're not flying, you don't have to perseverate on what kind of cooties your seatmates are hacking into the shared ventilation system. When finished commuting, you don't have to worry about whether your back will tolerate sleeping on a strange or inferior bed. You don't have to obsess think about how well (more likely not well) housekeeping cleaned your room, bed, bedspread, glassware, tub, toilet and doorknobs, and you don't have to inspect the room for signs of uninvited roommates like, Cimex lectularius (bedbugs). You know how well it was or wasn't cleaned because likely, you are housekeeping and you've only yourself to blame if it's less than perfect.

Not my house

Another highlight is that you don't have to kick yourself in the butt when TSA confiscates your mascara because it wasn't in a baggie, or you forgot something important at home. You are home and nothing is missing. I like it. I'm rested. I have a new attitude and a very scenic landscape to admire. The changes in the neighborhood make it seem like I'm away.

Sara's sweater is mostly done. I just need to seam the sleeves, find the perfect button and do a little blocking in order to cross it off the list. The thick and thin sweater hasn't been touched. I've been led astray. Again. Am I easily distracted, or what?

This is the Pretty as a Peacock Shawl by Some Knitting Required. I know it's not much yet, but I have plowed my way through all of chart A and half of chart B all since Saturday night. It's grown from the 23 stitch cast on to 184 stitches on the needles and is at a point where I can at least read the pattern that's emerging. The yarn is Louet Gems Sport in a natural color (all the better to see the stitches with, my dear) on a cone. I had to special order the cones through my local yarn store, but working this way is so worth it since I have no collapsing cakes of yarn to deal with and instead of 7 skeins and 7 joins, I'll only have 3 joins to fiddle with.

My friend Sarah will dye it a deep teal color when it's off the needles. She's a wonderful color artist, but a bit nervous about taking on this project. I keep assuring her that if the color isn't fabulous, she can always over dye the shawl with black. Over dyed yarns have beautiful depth and it's something I think we may want to consider doing. Maybe I'll knit her a couple of more swatches to fiddle with.

I didn't win the lottery while I was off work, so it's back to the daily grind for me. Sadly, my housekeeper is a slacker and didn't get any laundry done this week. I hope there's at least one set of scrubs that are clean.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How to Mend a Broken Heart

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18

When my mother in law died a few years ago, we were concerned about my father in law's boredom--idle hands, devil's workshop--so we suggested he volunteer somewhere. At the time, the hospital where I worked was in dire need of people to donate their time in service to others. Mr. Larger Than Life blew his top at the suggestion that he should "work" for free. His time was valuable, blah, blah blah. You get the idea, don't you? I tried to tell him how much my own aunt and uncle loved doing just this kind of work in their spare time. He thought that was ridiculous. I never mentioned it again and when he complained of boredom, I never felt pity. He made his bed and now it was time for him to lay in the damn thing. Before my aunt passed away at the hospital she'd donated all of her time to, there was a steady stream of the people she had met that came to honor her. It boggles my mind that MLTL finds no value in what she did for most of her retired life.

I truly feel that when you donate your goods and/or services, you should do so with a generous heart and try not to measure it against what you think it, or you, are worth. Still, I'm trying to reconcile what's in my heart to what's in my brain after Friday's auction. My brain is shocked that Ruby sold for a song. After 87,000 stitches, 1,650 yards and countless hours of toil, the shawl sold for $220. After giving the fair market value of a priceless piece, the auction organizer opened the bidding at $150--after we'd discussed the higher number of $400. It never stood a chance. For the past two days, I've come to my senses and my heart knows that the money raised went to a really good cause. That's $220 that some child's family can use to purchase hospice medications or supplies that they'd otherwise have no means of providing. My brain is appalled that it should have been at a minimum, double that, but I'll get over that. Not surprisingly, I felt fairly savvy that I "won" 3 items that had a combined appraisal value of $370 for half their value. I guess that in the end, we all want a deal. Maybe we all have a little of Mr. Larger Than Life's larceny residing in our hearts.

My sentimental side was touched by Ruby's final bidder. He circled the item at the end of the auction so that he could be the winner. His wife had bid at a lower number but had given up hope that once past $190, it was beyond what she could afford. This man wanted to be his wife's hero for the night. I had no clue who he was, so imagine my surprise when I met the recipient of the shawl. She is a colleague and one of my favorite people to work with. I'm thrilled for her and because of this, my heart is on the mend. The shawl went to someone who appreciates every last stitch and in the end, I'm completely satisfied with the results.

How's that for knitting a broken heart back together?

Friday, October 23, 2009


Today is the day that Ruby leaves for good. Yesterday, I went to the event venue where she'll be auctioned to someone who appreciates her (I hope). Tonight, the opening bid for the shawl begins at $400. Let's hope there's a fight!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What List?

Autumnal color appreciation.

Rippet, rippet. Not all is lost...just the sleeves. I hate sleeves. From now on, I decree all sweaters I knit will be capped or sleeveless.

Late afternoon pedicure with my best friend. It really doesn't get better than that!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good Knitting Gone Bad

True Confession: The hat did NOT work out. It would have been fabulous if I had a head twice the size of my current head, but I don't. I washed it 3 times in scalding hot, soapy water all to no avail. Oh, it felted alright, but it didn't shrink enough. I'll blame it on the bad pattern and the Harvest Moon Beer.

Not one to throw perfectly good looking knitted items in the trash, I am repurposing my felted item into a bowl. By Friday, it should dry enough to hold the shape I desire. I'm a little disappointed, but not completely. Since the weather has warmed, I don't have a pressing need for a hat--there's time to get it right. I think my mistakes will make a great bowl and a perpetual reminder that numbers and math do matter in knitting.

I'm off to go work a bit more of my way through my to-do list. I've added a couple of items, and today is the day for the pedicure. We had a fitting for my daughter's sweater last night, and today I'll rip back the sleeves and do them over. Again. Remember, numbers and math count!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What issss that?

Mountain Colors Targhee Top Ruby River/Mohair blend (handspun)

Tell me, what do you suppose this is? If you guessed pizza, well you're wrong.

It's that stupid hat pattern I've been following. The troubles with numbers has continued, but I just stopped paying attention to them. Have I told you how tasty Blue Moon's Harvest Moon beer is? It has some pumpkin in the brew. Different, but good. It's handy for helping me ignore the written errors in this pattern. After 1, I barely cared. Two? What numbers?

Speaking of pumpkins, here's the one I'm going to use to block my hat. I bought this pumpkin Saturday with all of the intentions of baking a pie, but it's got the perfect diameter of 22 inches. Yes, that knitted pizza will shrink from its ginormous size to a snug, form fitting, pill box style hat. Well it will if my experiment in knitting without numbers pans out. We'll see. Who knew I had a pumpkin head? Don't answer that.

I've noticed my attempt to keep up with my to-do list is slacking. Whatever. Eventually this stuff will get done. Color has gotten in the way. For some reason, I've never been able to tackle Fair Isle, or stranded knitting. Until now. I admit, I'm smitten with the array of colorwork patterns out there and I really want to learn how to do this. Maybe it's Kristin Nicholas' new book, Color by Kristin, that's leading me down this primrose lane. The book selection came down to two, Kristin's and another that was too pedestrian and matronly to recall here. Every time I turned a page in Kristin's book, I could visualize myself wearing her confections. Seriously, if for nothing else, this book is worth the treat for the eyes in the pattern department. The colors are stunning and the technique will come, I'm sure.

Sometimes, I'm a Bit Slow

Or in the Hamtramck vernacular, I can be a liddle tick. So, I cast on 12 stitches for a top down hat, put 4 stitches on each of 3 needles, joined in the round and knit 1 row. So far, so good. Row 2 instructed me to *K1, M1* and repeat from * to * for a total of 18 stitches.

Now I know I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but come on! For every stitch I knit, I make one. How often does 12 x 2 equal 18?

It's a well established fact around here that I demonstrate perseveration behaviors that aren't always healthy. The question here is, do I throw in the towel now, or continue on my quest to finish a project where the designer has evidently flunked 2nd grade math?

Meh. Think I'll go have a beer and think about it for a bit.

"Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes." -- Mickey Mouse

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Staycation Value Days...Not

Rudee's dream house. Now where did I put those lottery tickets?

After today, I'm going to stop counting down my days off. I want no reminders of how fleeting time away from work can be. For Saturday, staycation day 2, nothing out of the ordinary will happen. I'll get up early to go spin a little yarn and enjoy the gabfest. Maybe I'll get up a wee bit earlier to hit the farmer's market first. By the time I'm done spinning, all of the good stuff is gone, so if I really want those apple bear claw pastries some fresh apples, I should go early.

I didn't get my flu shot, so I'll have to do that Monday. I mailed the mitts, went for a fall drive and ogled all the pretty, and some not so pretty houses.

After dinner at a local brewery, we went to the Apple stores. You know...the one where they sell overly priced caramel coated apples, and then to the other one down the way where they sell the prettiest apples in town.

I couldn't live without a laptop to call my own. This one is pretty spiffy, if I must say so myself. I love the way the keyboard lights up like the control panel of a sexy, sleek jet. It's too bad that feature will eat the battery life. I'll use it when it's plugged in and charging though.

Friends, I am the queen of rationalization and once my husband began the topic of me buying a new mac, I heartily joined in the conversation. Let me share some of my thoughts on this with you:

  1. I work hard. I should be allowed to spend a portion of what I earn on myself.
  2. I've saved half, and by the time the amex bill comes in, I'll have the other half ready.
  3. I haven't bought new shoes in at least a month in a really long time.
  4. People shouldn't have to live with old technology. Never mind that the old one was barely more than a year old.
  5. We did not go to the Rhinebeck fiber festival this weekend (the original reason for taking this week off) and therefore saved at least $150 on fuel, $800 on lodging, a minimum of $200 in fiber (I'm laughing on that estimate), certainly $500 on food and incidentals and who knows how much more? By not traveling, even with me buying a laptop, we're still ahead.
  6. Accidents happen and I should not have to suffer because I am at times a little dimwitted.
See? Can I work it, or what?

BTW, that overly priced caramel apple? I've completely rationalized the purchase and consumption of that, too.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let the Games Begin

We're experiencing some winter-like temperatures here lately.  It would seem that just like we skipped summer, we're bypassing fall.  It's 11 AM and only 38 degrees out there with an expected high of a chilly 42 degrees.  I took a look ahead though and it would seem we're in for some more temperate weather next week.  The forecast is for sunshine and weather in the high 50s.  Lucky me.

Yesterday, I finished the fingerless mitt pattern, CanCans.  Because they're for someone else, I want at least the color to be a surprise, so I'm not showing a photo.  The pattern, (free on Ravelry) was fun and had some clever shaping, including a real thumb gusset.   It's a great way to use up sock yarn, and because the yarn is delicate, I think the mitts are a bit more feminine.  I used Mountain Colors, Bearfoot yarn which is a mix of merino and mohair.  They're very soft with a very minimal itch factor (the mo).

Today I'm casting on the Monkey socks.  Oh, and I started Purpose of Honor, by Vince Flynn.  I almost didn't buy the book when I saw that one of the reviewers on the flap was Glenn Beck, but then I decided not to hold that against the author and I threw the flap in the trash.  Does anyone care what Glenn Beck thinks about a book?  What really surprised me is that his opinion on the flap ("Fantastic!"), implies that he reads.  Shocking, I know.

I'm off to shower and go get my flu shot.  I forgot to put this one on my to-do list, but now I have.  I'm hoping to get the H1N1 vaccine, but I'll settle for the seasonal one if that's all they have.   After that, my sweetie and I will be doing a little house hunting across town.  Since it's beautiful out that way with the trees in all their autumnal glory, I may be able to cross the fall drive from my list.  If we're lucky, we'll find a cider mill along the way.  I love being industrious.

Photo:  Wiki Commons

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Confessions of an Insomniac

Once upon a time, I used to lay my head upon my pillow and then the next thing I knew, it was morning.  I miss those nights.  Of course, I have to leave the house by 7 AM tomorrow and I'm too wound up from my night at work.  Sometimes, my heart just gets too heavy to sleep.  I'm long past due for this little break.

Guess I'll go see what awaits me on the DVR.  

Photo:  Google Images

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Sharpened My Pencil

Have you noticed my countdown clock lately?  It seems it's all I can notice as I count down the days, soon to be hours, to my staycation.  As a little bonus, I have to go to a pain conference on Thursday, so I don't have to work until midnight.  My vacation officially begins at 4 PM on Thursday afternoon.

I'm making a list of things I've simply got to do:
  • Start and finish a pair of Monkey socks
  • Finish a pair of Can-Can mitts (mostly done)
  • Finish the thick and thin sweater
  • Finish Sebba's sweater
  • Felt that scarf
  • Knit and felt a hat
  • Attend a benefit silent auction and say goodbye to Ruby
  • Start the Peacock Shawl--I just knew this would be tough when the instructions begin with the warning, "some knitting required."
  • Finish Start plying the latest batch of yarn I spun.
  • Finish spinning Boomer
  • Make and freeze the beef stock for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Make and freeze the pie crusts for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Sleep late every day
  • Read Vince Flynn's new book
  • Learn how to do Fair Isle knitting
  • Take a fall drive
There.  That should be enough to keep me busy for a few days.  Did I leave anything out?

At Odds With My Inner Hippie

For most of my young adult and now middle age life, I've been a peaceful person.  I abhor the thought of fighting and sending our men and women into war, especially to places where I'm not sure a difference can be made.  September 11th changed how I feel about this subject.  Watching those towers fall to the ground--knowing human beings were in them-- made me long for retribution and an end to this threat.  While I did not agree with deploying troops to Iraq, I never had a problem with sending them into Afghanistan to hunt down the terrorists responsible for 9-11 and subsequent atrocities committed in other countries.

Though I'm not so sure we'll ever find the criminals responsible, or if we do that it'll make a difference, I'm still committed to our attempts to try.  After what happened in Pakistan this weekend, I don't see how we can ignore that the taliban and al-qaeda are a continuing threat to world peace.  The world would be foolish to ignore that their goal is to gain control of nuclear weapons.

Last night, instead of watching television full of useless programming, I watched the MSNBC special, The Tip of the Spear, and I was moved by the story.  The conditions our soldiers endure are so brutal that they're almost unimaginable.  From rugged terrain, double dealing tribal elders, mistakes of friendly fire, using themselves as bait for the taliban-- to the squalor of their base camp and brand new weapons that don't work, these men are on a heroic mission to change the future.  Our future.  At the very least, they deserve our support and they could probably use a few more men.

The side of my brain that abhors the violence wonders how we can ever win such a war.  History has repeatedly demonstrated that this is one area in the world that is lawless and uncivilized and this is something we can't change.  We have to think and act differently to change events.  While watching this, I couldn't help thinking about who is responsible for funding these terrorists.  I tried, but in all of the footage, I didn't see a gleaming high towered bank.  It's time to follow the money and cut off the head of the beast.  I have a feeling that without financial support, this is one hydra that would have a difficult time growing a new head.  While I know that in no small part, our country played a role in financing and training our own enemy when they were at war with Russia, someone, some country, some benefactor continues in this endeavor.  I wouldn't be surprised to find the culprits have hands dripping in oil and in my mind, they're as responsible for 9-11 as their citizens who hijacked the planes. I long for the day when we're not reliant on their oil and their market dries up.  

Though I'm sure the world would like to see an end to these wars we've gotten ourselves into (Nobel prize indeed), we ignore the continuing threat to our collective peril.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spin Cycle

Working nights, it's so hard to get up in the morning these days.  When I worked dayshift, I'd get up for work at the tender hour of 5 AM.  This schedule became a part of my everyday life and I seldom slept past 6 AM on my days off.  If I had to do this now, I'd be a physical mess.  It's funny how quickly one can change a habit.  With that said, nothing keeps me from getting up early on Saturday mornings.  I know some who reserve Saturday for sleeping, but not me.  I look forward to rising early, filling my travel mug with coffee, buckling my spinning wheel into the passenger seat of my car, and going off to spin some yarn.

Spinning can take place anywhere (now that I have the right tools to make it happen); what I get out of Saturday mornings can't.   I live for this 3 hour block of a nonstop gabfest.  Better, though certainly not cheaper than a therapist, I look forward to these sessions and always leave there energized.  Every time I go, I'm surprised when noon rolls around and our time is up because it always feels like I just got there.

I've been content to be alone with myself for most of my adult life.  I know some who can't be alone for more than 5 minutes, but I've always treasured my solitude.  This desire to share this one morning a week with people who were strangers just last April, surprises and delights me.  If I had to single out one blessing I've received in this very tumultuous year, it's been this unexpected gift of friendship and community with these like-minded women.

Don't go getting the idea that only gossip and no industry occurs during these sessions.  On Saturdays, at least a half a dozen of us prove that we can indeed walk and chew gum at the same time.  This morning, I spun 4 ounces of Targhee top then went home and spun 4 more.  That is going to be one beautiful yarn when I get around to plying.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Sticks and Stones

Overheard during shift report:

"What is she doing here?  What are we doing for her?"

These were benign enough words, but said with with a callous tone, they were enough to upset the family who overheard them.  Try asking those questions again with a tone as though the patient doesn't belong on your unit because this person is dying.  I think you can see how differently these words can be interpreted.  I have news for nurses out there who think this way:  Dying is a part of the continuum of life and is as natural as birth. Dying hospice patients belong anywhere they happen to be including homes, nursing homes, medical surgical units, emergency rooms and ICUs.  We shouldn't be so put out when someone happens to be dying on our unit.  

Contrast the above with a scenario I had from awhile ago:  The nurses of a telemetry step down unit wanted to care for their now dying patient.  They knew this patient and the family and wanted to be the caregivers honored to give care at the end.  Instead of transferring this patient to a more private unit, we allowed this person to remain in that room with providers who cared.

For a mindful exercise, try to put yourself in someone else's shoes.  I can guarantee with 100% certainty that some day, you'll be the one in need of a nurse's care at the end of life.  Why not pay it forward now?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Variations on a Theme

Hospice has been hopping lately--probably due to the full moon--and I'm watching that ticker clock wind down to my first long vacation in what seems like forever, but has really only been 2 years.  Finally.  I know I just got back from a vacation, but that was only 3 days off work and not enough time to do too much.  This time, I'll lollygag for ten straight days and practice life as a slacker.

Last night during a brief lull at work, my husband took me to dinner and regaled me with tales of Mr. Larger Than Life's annual obsession with leaves.  Yes, it's that time of year again when the men in my house make themselves scarce in order to avoid hard labor at MLTL's house.  This year though, my father in law has a new neighbor and now new owner of the tree that he hates most.  As a way of introducing himself, my father in law said hello, then promptly asked the man to cut down his giant oak tree as a favor to him.  Seeing as this is a modest neighborhood, I'm pretty sure that in the first place, this guy doesn't have an extra couple of thousand dollars laying around to do this, and in the second place, why would he want to cut down a perfectly good shade tree?  The poor neighbor hasn't got a clue what kind of lunatic he has living next to him.

On our walk home from dinner, my husband made comment on our own littered landscape.  The tree next door has been dropping chestnuts for two weeks now.  The squirrels have cracked open the prickly shells and are leaving the detritus scattered everywhere.  Walking up the steps, my husband told me how much he hates that tree and how tempted he is to rake that crap right back into the neighbor's yard.  Oh-oh.  Lord help me if this apple fell too close to THAT tree.  I'll keep you posted if he asks her to cut it down.

I'm adding this music to remind my honey that no matter what, I still love him.  Even when he channels his father.

Variations on Canon (played as our wedding processional song).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's Killing Me

Since the Texas courts seem to be dragging their robes in the money laundering case against Tom Delay, maybe he could be charged with crimes against dancing.  

On occasion, white boys can indeed dance:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Send Out the Dogs

No, on second thought, don't. I'm not really lost, I've just gotten lost in things I like to do. Case in point, I remade the onion soup we enjoyed at my sister's last week. I knew my husband and kids would love it. This was a two day affair that began some time after spinning yesterday. I roasted the bones and vegetables as a base to make a rich stock and let that simmer and reduce for about 5 hours. Today, I caramelized the onions and married that to the stock and then topped it with toasted french bread and smothered it all in aged Gruyere. There wasn't much left to show but empty crocks.

To top off my weekend in the kitchen, I made a pate brisee (pie crust with French technique). The pie is apple and as soon as I'm done writing this, I'm going to be getting a piece of that. I used Michigan McIntosh apples and it looks and smells delicious. I need to work on my pie crust techniques, but what the heck, I'm just proud it didn't come out of a box.

I finished the Every Way Wrap for the Sticks on Fire KAL. I'm ahead of everyone else, but I think I chose the easiest piece. It's pretty enough and the stitch definition using Cashmerino Aran is beautiful, but the way it looks as a whole? Not so much. It's good enough to snuggle in and if I could stop having hot flashes this week, the weather is perfect for this.

Of special note are the bags under my eyes. I wake up every morning and the bed linens look like someone has held a monumental battle there. I'm hot, I'm cold, I'm hot, I'm cold. By morning, I'm twisted in the sheets and have to think of ways to get untwisted. If I had to get out of bed in a hurry, I'm not sure I could.

We can't blame my nights all on my hormones though, because Dan Brown should shoulder a little responsibility, too. His villain is a bit creepy. This is the second book I've read this week (not including cook books and Fine Cooking Magazine. The first was Rules of Vengeance, by Christopher Reich. It wasn't bad, but not my favorite. Maybe I'm tired of his main character. It felt good to do something besides knit for a change. I don't know where I found all the time to do this, but perhaps it's the lack of having my own computer. I plan to remedy this in a few days.

I'm thinking this is what's next for my needles. This pattern, Pretty as a Peacock, is one I picked up at the Michigan Fiber Festival in August. I'm betting that although it's lace, it'll knit up quickly in sport weight yarn. My special order Louet Gems came in last week and I'm itching to cast on. I didn't see a color that spoke to me, so I ordered the yarn in a natural color. My spinning friend Sara will do the honors of dying it for me.

Those are my excuses for not being around much. As a whole, it looks like I've been fairly industrious and perhaps now, I've earned a piece of that pie.

ETA--OMG! Jacques Pepin may hit me over the head with his rolling pin for the appearance of my pie crust, but he'd be alright with the taste: heavenly, buttery, flaky and rich. Yum. I'll work on the looks.