Saturday, November 27, 2010


Since we moved in here in July, my living room has been furnished with leftovers from GoodWill, my in-laws' basement, junked furniture from the scrap heap of that apartment building we were living in, really cheap lamps from Target (Target sells some really nice stuff; these were not it) and one fabulous antique. All my former living room furniture was moved into the den, and the living room was left to languish. First, we were just waiting for the finances to stabilize and to get used to the mortgage and the way the bills were timed before we took out a loan. That took long enough that then we were intending to wait until after-Christmas sales.

Then it occurred to us; Black Friday sales.

We didn't get the entire room's worth of furniture. Just some stuff to sit on, some end tables, and a cabinet for the TV, cable box, and related junk. We'll live with that for a while, as I decide what else we need. Then I'll track down and buy the other stuff. At any rate, I'll have non-ugly furniture in a couple weeks.

The real hilarity, now that I've thought about it, are the couch and love seat; they're khaki and olive green. I remember constantly bitching at my mother about her love of olive green as a decorative element when I was younger. So I go to buy a couch, and what color is it? Perhaps my mother was to nice too say "I get olive green so your sloppy kid self doesn't mess it up". Because the Goober was one of the major motivators in the color choices of the upholstered furniture.

Oh - and I'm getting bookshelves! Real ones, that look like furniture. Not particleboard monstrosities that sag in five minutes. Very exciting.

Photos when it gets here, in a couple weeks. Just in time for the holidays. Maybe I can have people over without being embarrassed by how my living room looks like a fraternity house. (My friend pointed out it's NOT like a frat house, because it doesn't smell like pee and beer. But it's not much comfort.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010


More stream of alleged consciousness, since apparently you guys are entertained. I thought to do this just now; I checked on cooking times for turkeys and realized it was going to take twice as long to cook as I thought and I'd have to put it in the oven RIGHT NOW. So I went downstairs to the second fridge to get the turkey, looked, and it weighed half what I thought it did. Back upstairs again without the turkey! And I'm back to a couple hours' cook time. Eeesh.

Now I'll have time to knock out the from-scratch lemon meringue pie I was supposed to get to yesterday. Don't feel sorry for me. Every year I do more than I should, but I kind of enjoy the too-much-to-do. Nothing makes me feel more blessed than having too little time to cook the food I planned.

Mythbutherth day-long marathon. SCORE.

In-laws arriving in an hour; veggies prepped for snackies. Also cheese and crackers. And dip. Maybe we should just eat that and pumpkin pie today. And the white chocolate cheesecake I've got done. And the haupia. Hm.

The husbeast sighs heavily one more time, I'm going on a tri-state killing spree.

Bread rising. Well, dinner rolls. Have to wait until the dishwasher is done to make the pie. One reason I start a day ahead on Thanksgiving; because my detail planning sucks. Everyone thinks I'm organized because of the day-ahead thing. Hahaha. Guess again.

One drawback to an e-reader; I start worrying when the kitchen is full of water and steam. You can't drop it in a sink of water and fish it back out like I've done with paperbacks. (Or, rather, you can, but it's not gonna work after that.) After last winter's tea-through-the-netbook fiasco, I'd like to make it a full year before destroying any more electronics.

Discussing making Ranch dressing from scratch. Stop me. It's a sickness.

The lunatic I married is heading to the grocery store. I want it on public record that he doesn't NEED to go. I planned ahead and actually remembered everything. He's bored and going anyway. Lunatic? Yes, I think so.

Child grazing on carrots. She can do that ALL. DAY.

Dried beef dip in oven. The house is gonna smell great in ten minutes.

Really want a slice of cheesecake.

After waiting an hour for it to rise, I've realized I FORGOT TO PUT YEAST IN THE BREAD. Please, let this be the dumbest thing I do today.

Kid and cat have been hanging out together. It's freaking me out. I think the world domination plan is back on schedule.

Trying to find motivation to make lemon pie next. My feet hurt.

If this second batch of bread is a dud, it's pizza and pumpkin pie for dinner.

Making another go at meringue. Usually it looks like egg whites on top of a pie. Oh - any of you making lemon meringue pie, put some lemon zest in the meringue. And Limoncello in the filling. Yummy goodness that way.

Pie in oven. Child telling knock-knock jokes. Heavy sigh.

Only running half an hour late. For me that's almost like being early. Especially at the holidays.

Right, from here it's turkey wrangling and cat throwing. So again, youse guys have a great holiday, or a great Thursday, whichever works for you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I keep trying to come up with major, fascinating blog topics. We've seen how well that works. So instead, I shall now live-blog the stream of my alleged consciousness while I do the pre-Thanksgiving baking. Since y'all seem to think that's funny.

Went to the grocery store at eight AM. I wanted to go at seven when they opened but I just couldn't drag my ass out of bed that early. It was me and ten other hard-core bakers jostling in the raw materials aisle, stockists, and about twenty older guys who'd probably been up since five AM before their wives sent them out for some invented ingredient to get them out of their hair. Sent one guy to the exotic foods section for rye flour. I managed not to laugh, but it was close.

The folks who cook two from-scratch meals a year were showing up when I left at nine, their eyes wheeling in their heads like demented chameleons.

Got the kid a sled for winter. They had them, and if I wait until it snows, I'll never find one then.

Pumpkin pie in oven. Schedule is going great; I will fall asleep this afternoon and totally blow it. Next up, haupia. That's coconut custard.

Ham thawed. Turkey still frozen.

Turkey floating in laundry sink.

If the cat shits on the floor one more time, I'm turning her into bedroom slippers.

Phineas and Ferb marathon, for the win.

Goober quote: "Blue and orange mix together to make PLAID!" Oh, if only, kid. I'd make a fortune.

Right. Time to make haupia. (That's coconut custard. The husbeast got addicted to it in Hawaii.) I'm making the Cheater's Version with corn starch. Not exactly traditional, corn starch. Ha.

Haupia done, cooling, looking much like an 8x8 dish of wallpaper paste. Easy fast, and that's good 'cause I hate coconut.

Hub home with rum. We're now standing around doing quotes from Pirates of the Caribbean. WHY ARE YOU BURNING THE RUM? Yes, I intend to bake with it. Drinking it is so passe.

Forgot to set the timer for the pumpkin pie. So much for that 'getting stuff done early' thing. ARGH.

Saved the pie. No pumpkin flambe this year. Whew.

Husbeast and kid will want lunch. Homicide is still illegal in this state, isn't it? Can I shoot him and say I mistook him for a deer? Hmmm.

Just - duh - realized I am doing all the baking in a GAS OVEN this year. Oy vey. Natural gas creates water vapor when it burns; electricity of course doesn't create vapor when it heats. So it's different. At least it is to hard core bakers who've baked in electric ovens for TWENTY YEARS and suddenly switches to gas. AAAH!

I has a foozy kitty. Eeeee!

Knitting break. Like a dandelion break, but different.

The garter square sock toe is a thing of genius and beauty. Plus it's nice and squooshy soft. Cat Bordhi is the Einstein of socks. Truly. This has the simplistic elegance of E=mc2, and is more useful. (Physics people, do not send hate letters, or worse, letters about kinetic energy, relativistic mass, or space-time. Space-time and quantum gravity give me migraines.)

Getting the cheesecake ingredients out of the fridge so they can get to room temp before I make the thing. The Goober wants to help. Won't that be fun? Should only take twice as long that way. Three times, tops.

Have given up and am now making tea by the half gallon. I've got a thermal carafe around here somewhere... anyone remember where I put it when I unpacked it? I could tell you just where it was in the kitchen in South Carolina. Fat lot of good THAT does me now. (Better a lost carafe than back in South Carolina, though. Definitely.)

Note to self: Don't shake the whipping cream before you open it, dumbass.

So. Thermal carafe...

And damn it, now my Kindle's gone, too.

Kid is laying on the tile floor in the entryway, yelling that it's cold. I said if it was so cold, why in heck didn't she get up? She told me she was pretending she was at the bottom of the ocean.

Caillou, you whining, obnoxious puddle of puss. Go slap your mother for raising a whining snotbag.

Sekhmet is laying on the Goober's lap. It's starting to freak me out.

Kid is telling knock-knock jokes. I'm gonna go start the cheesecake and save myself.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE! Whether you celebrate it or not, have a fine day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's aliiiiive!

...sorta. I've been stuck under one of those hideous seasonal migraines that change with the weather, and growling at everyone. So, imagine me repeating 'fuck' ten thousand times, and that's about what the last week's worth of blog posts would be.

So much for that blogging daily thing. Har.

Thanksgiving and Food Season are coming up, though, and that always gives me lots to blog about. I have hopes for more interesting... something. Soon.

If not I can always blog about the history of the toilet; I've been reading again. (FEAR IT!)


For about a year now, we've been letting the Goob get up alone in the morning since she does it at the asscrack of dawn. We would make sure the TV was set to something appropriate so she could turn it on, and we've always been pretty good about safety. Then one of us would get up an hour or so later. We trusted her to behave, and for most of the year, she did. Then, in the last couple weeks, she's been getting up to No Good. Nothing TRULY horrible that involved destruction of property, just things she knew she wasn't supposed to do. Then, earlier this week, I found this series of photos on my camera:

Since then I've been getting up with her. This morning? A QUARTER TO SEVEN. AM. ON A SUNDAY. There ought to be a law. (May get that last photo printed and framed for the in-laws this Christmas. It's too perfectly hilarious not to.)


The husbeast, in Son of Gadget mode, went out and bought a bunch of cables of various kinds, and, well, what with one thing and another...

(Please note matching cowlicks on the backs of our heads. It also may be obvious where the kid's curls come from.) That's me playing Plants vs. Zombies on my computer, using the TV as a monitor. Good fun. I still need to run Civilization and see how that works. Bet it looks awesome.

We have yet to buy living room furniture. I want to wait until the holidays (read: big, unexpected expenses) are over before doing financing, but, well, I may knuckle under and do it sooner. I can't handle having the main room of my house furnished with mismatched stuff from GoodWill and various family basements. It's starting to make me twitch. (Remember, this is on top of a year living in other people's houses and unfurnished apartments.) NEED BOOKSHELVES.


One thing migraines are good for, with me: Fiber. I tend to hole up with some movies or TV shows (Warehouse 13 reruns, in this case) and knit or spin in an attempt to ignore everything. So I get stuff done. I finished the Clown Vomit silk scarf yesterday; need to get a photo. It's gloriously awful. Like a lava lite, but different. I also finished spinning this:

It's a mixture of alpaca, firestar, and angelina (you can kinda see the sparkles) from The Critter Ranch. This is the second batt of theirs I've spun, and their stuff is wonderful. Fast shipping, and a really good combination of glitz and soft; if you add too much angelina to a batt, it can get scratchy, but theirs are soft as a baby's butt. Also, batts have to be packed carefully or they get all snarled and useless: Critter Ranch's batts always arrive beautifully perfect and ready to spin. In fact, they've spoiled me; lately I've been unhappy with other batts so I may be buying from them exclusively. At least until I get my own drum carder, heh heh heh.

After I finished the alpaca (which may get knit into a scarf for the Goob's developmental shrink), I started on some merino top I'd dyed myself:

This is getting spun into my usual chain-plied sock yarn, to knit socks for myself. I'm doing a lot of sock knitting lately. It's quite mindless, and I love it so.

That's about it for now. Hopefully the weather will be leveling off soon (I'd welcome three feet of snow; it cleans the air like a giant filter as it falls, and the temperature would stay steady). Brace for more blog posts about plants, by the way: I found the botany section at the used book store this week.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Knitting Brioche by Nancy Marchant

This is my favorite kind of knitting book. A section on arcane knitting techniques I've never seen before, a stitch dictionary using those techniques, and a section of patterns to show you the possibilities. There's even some history in there at the beginning, like the cherry on top of my own personal sundae of knitting book perfection.

Detail, you ask?

Okay. Brioche is a technique popular in the Low Countries of Europe. It and Fisherman's Rib are the same in terms of path-of-yarn, but the construction is different. Brioche involves knitting every other stitch, and with the other stitch, slipping it with the yarn over the needle along with the stitch. Fisherman's Rib is simply 1x1 rib, in which you knit flat, working into the row below on the knit stitches on both sides. From this fairly simple-sounding beginning, Marchant has built an amazing repertoire. Increases, decreases, multiple colors, pattern variations, you name it.

The patterns are also well-designed. A great range of sizes, all triggering the ooo-I-wanna-make-that response. They're even made with easy-to-find yarns.

So, there you have it. Definitely a book worth adding to a personal library. I've been knitting twenty years, you all know I am a researching fool, and this book is FULL of things I've never seen before. I can't praise it more highly than that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


So. Given I have dexterity problems AND pain problems when my hands get cold, I thought the "Texting Mittens" from the current issue of Spin*Off looked darn nice, especially if I knit extra-long cuffs:

I don't really feel a need to spin all the yarn for them, or, really, ANY of the yarn for them. But I want something super-warm, to compete with the lovely gore-tex skier's gloves that no cold gets through, but are so thick I can barely drive in them. I thought some combination of wool, silk, and alpaca would cover all the warmth possibilities. Just one problem, though: I sweat. Like a... well, I won't say it 'cause it's rude. But my hands sweat a lot. It's one of the symptoms of this stupid nerve damage. So what do I knit the lining with? Something that, if it doesn't wick moisture well, should at least shed the stink when I wash them.

I was thinking closely-knit wool for the lining, and an alpaca-silk two ply (I'd spin that bit) for the outside. Or maybe stranded color on the outside layer, to double the thickness, one color in silk and one color in alpaca. (So I only had to spin the silk; I wanna spin any silk myself so it's tight enough not to snag, but I wanna buy the rest if possible so it's done before THIS winter ends.)

Thoughts? Anyone?


There have been several requests for Goober-isms in the last month or two. I don't have a list of them, but I'll share today's with you.

"Mumma, what's the refrigerator food chain?"

Monday, November 01, 2010

What's happening. not a lot. Well, it is but it isn't.

My brother is gradually improving. He's about half in the medicated coma, now; they adjust it. On bad days, for whatever reason, when his heart rate goes up, they medicate him more. He's been communicating just a bit, and things continue to gradually improve.

I am going to rag on him so bad about his insanely elaborate method of quitting smoking. He has no idea. He's got a trach tube in so he can't talk; he NEEDS to be conscious so I can take advantage of his inability to argue. Oooooh, I'm gonna go all Little Sister on him.


In the midst of running to Ohio every time I turn around (okay, once a week, but it seems like more), I'm also doing an elaborate evaluation with my pain clinic. I was supposed to do it when I first started there, but I thought things were insane then (ha) and put it off. I've finally admitted to myself that life is unlikely to calm down, and am just doing it.

So far I've done evaluations with psychology and physical therapy. Psych makes sense for a lot of reasons; attitude has a whole lot to do with pain control, not to mention they need to cover their own butts in terms of all the medication they give out. Physical therapy I was feeling rather surly about. I thought I was being polite. I WAS TRYING TO BE. I SWEAR. But the therapist said right off "I know you have hand problems, but your hand is attached to the rest of your body." When put that way, well, you can hardly argue. I didn't.

It looks like I'm going to be doing PT again. Sigh. My occupational therapy appointment is tomorrow, then they all get together Thursday and figure out what they want to do with/about me.

The only awesome thing about all this is that I drive past the yarn store every trip.

Oh, and they think working on my spine and shoulder may lesson some of the nerve damage symptoms. That won't be pleasant, but there should be a payoff. I hope.


I've been knitting. Really simple, basic stuff, because I'm otherwise insane. But that old adage "I knit so I don't kill people" has never been more true around here. (REALLY need to get that tee shirt.)

The rainbow batt that I spun? It did get knit into a scarf.
Goob scarf
The Goobie was delirious with joy when I gave it to her. Hasn't really been cold enough to wear yet, but it's nice and soft so she'll wear it this winter for sure.

I finished a pair of socks. According to the ball bands, those are from the same dye lot.
If they really are, I will eat the pair. Will wear them to OT tomorrow, and take a skein of yarn. Have started another pair. They are simple stockinette, warm, and awesome in their simplicity. Why was I doing all that complicated stuff, all these years?

Now working on a scarf, with this garish yarn I got at the yarn shop the other day:
Clown vomit
It is a 100% pure reeled silk roving-type yarn. One of the ones I love but don't knit with often because they're super hot and pill like mad. I don't care. This is a process knit and I am doing it entirely for tactile pleasure. Yum.


Home schooling continues apace. Have two more tests for this year's worth of school to finish. I'd wanted it done by the start of November (today), but live intruded. Hopefully by the end of the week.


I'm going to try to get back into the habit of blogging daily. I can find SOMETHING to blog about, and hopefully it will distract me from the crazy. I hope. Either that or I will share the crazy! Bwah! Fear it!