Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I have thoughts

A good portion of every week is running through potential baking recipes. I bake for both my son's soccer team as well as my recreational slow-pitch softball team that my friend the Canadian Kim got me a guesting spot on when they were short players. I've become pretty regular and honestly, It's really fun to be part of a team sport again.

I'm just catcher and basically get my peripheral vision tested behind the mask as I squint and sweat in the bright sun. (I promise I wear sunscreen). I like it. I wish I was hitting better, but I think in time that will come back, especially if I can get myself to the batting cages. Crap, I might even let Dad take me so he can bark / coach at me and we can relive our youth together. LOL. Well, if we do, we have to bring Sister to complete the nostalgia.

(Still laughing as I picture this in my head, because my family is dorky)



Anyways back to cake. I've been enjoying making this buttermilk raspberry cake, I made it twice last weekend. However I have strawberries that I am trying to use right now, so that's what's being baked later this week. It's simple to make and it delivers. Excellent for breakfast, coffee, tea or dinner parties with a bit of fresh whipped cream.


I did Snickerdoodle Bars for the kid's team last match and I think I'll rotate these into this weekend's game for my team.

Thank you everyone for your lovely encouragement as I worked on my second sock for the Fall Knit Along. I have the knack of the old Nutkin now. I admit the first sock was a little tighter than I was expecting. Maybe a US 2 instead of a 1.5 next time for needles. Surprising for a 64 cast on.

Anyhow, that photo from yesterday was a moment sponsored by overpriced hipster coffee and 45 minutes of such enjoyable knitting post Pilates. I don't get to go to cafes and knit by myself much anymore and it was such a treat.

You know what else is a treat? Reformer Pilates, Holy hotpants it's not a cheap activity, but I do like it. I started it because my back and my foot can only take so much higher impact activity. I now would prefer to run only if I'm being chased, but I won't abandon running completely... maybe.

I am using Reformer along with some dance classes to continue to supplement my cardio at the gym because it makes me happy and keeps my physically active which also is good for my brain. Also all that core and upper body strength the Dr. is always suggesting doesn't seem as daunting when I'm distracted by springs and loops and thing opposed to just my body on a mat. ha!

Have you tried Reformer Pilates? Do you have an activity you can do through the colder months that make you feel a little healthier or stronger? Walking is fabulous, but I always seem to tack a treat onto the end of my walk ;) Whatever it is, if you can, stick with it. Health and Happiness for us all.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday

Knitting the fall along. I think I can. I think I can. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

At a pace and an observation on rage reading

A little something: I've been having some lovely weekends. They've been filled with friends and family and it's just been full and good.

The Fall KAL status: Aside from clutching the laughter and burying myself in Mom aka checklist lady mode I managed to carve out a few hours to knit and make some rounds on Nutkin. I decided on a longer leg for this sock. My cuff is at 10 rounds and the pattern itself is 80.



Things were going smooth, but I had some problems at night knitting with this yarn that is dark and shifts colors. I had a hard time seeing my stitches both in knitting and backing out.

I'm in a better place now, finished the gusset on Sock 1 and ready to move on to the foot. I know it's just sock 1 but I remain confident I'll finish in time for the deadline :)

Escapism: I was really tired and my back was aching a bit and just needed to lay there a bit, sometimes knitting, sometimes knot. I revisited the Bletchley Circle series on Netflix. Good stuff.

Trying to read something, anything again: I also finished a book. I KNOW! A real book, not magazines, online articles and tweets! "Do Not Become Alarmed" It's a vacation read. Something that I imagined page turning with hours to spare lining up the next book. I started off intrigued, wondering where it would go. Then it sort of stalled on me.

Last night I couldn't sleep, yet I couldn't knit anymore. I picked up my phone and turned on the kindle app and started reading. I notice when I read a paper book, there is an overall calming effect.I think it's why many of us can read ourselves to a contented sleep. Even if it's something scary or absolutely riveting where I know the potential for me to pull an all nighter is inevitable ... I can give into it. Are you familiar with Harry Potter movies? There is a scene in The Chamber of Secrets where Harry Potter literally falls into a diary. Yeah, that's how I feel. Even exhausted but determined to keep reading, if it's paper, I get into the zone, I cross over.

It appears with digital reading this is not a guarantee for me. I've had positive experiences. But in the case of this book, something wholly uncomfortable happened to me. I got to the point where I was more than halfway through it. I felt like the plot was getting ... redundant. I didn't like the characters. I didn't like most of the children. I didn't like their parents. The people I had some sympathy for were feeling flat, everyone felt flat, except for that bright light I was reading against. I wasn't tired, but I was irritated.

I was determined to finish this book. I wasn't expecting some great literary read from this story. It was supposed to be escapism, but I couldn't be sold. I read so irritated with the book, and so unsatisfied with the ending that I'm not sure if I can tell you my opinion is valid.

But the truth is I feel satisfied I finished a book (and I didn't stay up too late.)

I'm not deterred from reading on my phone either, though I prefer my kindle if I'm going digital. The truth is, I just liked thinking about fake people and fake stories and making the words mean something in my mind. I could use more of that. I think I'm not sure what kind of stories I like anymore.


Monday, September 11, 2017

I Love Fall: The Knit Along

This past year I've read about fun swaps and knit a longs, but I have not been participating. My updates to the blog are much father spaced than they used to be. My knitting has not been consistent. I just haven't had the heart to set myself up for failure.


Dee from Pointy Little Sticks though began to draw me in with talk of a Fall Knit Along. Ariagnee began to stock up on her beautiful fall supplies of all kinds of crafts and well. I was beckoned. The timeline seemed manageable for a pair of socks, even for me!

So here we are. A pair of Nutkins in progress.


I've got 30 rounds of pattern on the leg after 10 rounds of K1P1 rib because I really can't be bothered with the newfangled cuff method in the pattern. I may or may not do the short row heel and 3 needle bind off. I have time to figure out how "experimental" for my own skill set I feel like being.

The yarn is a solid work horse Kroy. However I have struggled knitting this yarn at night. As pretty as it looks in the light, it's gone through some dropped stitch recovery and backing out already. This colorway requires good lighting and reading glasses.

Have you cast on? Are you feeling good about fall?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Weekend Surprise

Friday was a retirement party for my Step Mother. She's the best Stepmother. Friends and family came out to celebrate her. I left work early to make sure I got there in time. (Commuter trains on a Friday in the Bay Area are kinda crowded)

I was whining at the next level to my husband who picked me up from the BART station that I used a commuter train and had no commuter knitting.

Who Am I?!?

I was "repacking" my bag and I think instead of putting my mini knitting bag in, I reached for a cardigan because all knuckle heads carry 2 cardigans for fun.

Being the bleeding heart that he is (which speaks to why my son favors him) he drove me to a A Verb For Keeping Warm and let me impulse shop. What a guy.


It's a treat to go there. Even though the husband works out there, I don't cross the bay that often if it isn't to see family. I stay out of his way at his work on Saturdays. It's horribly busy.


It's a pretty store. Everyone is very nice and super helpful whether you know exactly what you want or you're just beginning a craft.



They have super cute and fancy embroidery threads & pretty modern fabrics on one side of the room and yarn of course on the other side. Right now, I do not allow myself to purchase anything but sock yarn for stash. Everything else must be for a project that I will knit immediately. No waiting, no hoping, no taking up space, no dream changers. There is not space for that. (This tone is mainly for myself not for you people w/o the space and clutter problems I have created.)

Other weekend highlights:
Amazing Food Allergy - I had these weird congested feelings both coughing and my sinuses just totally stuffed up. Weird heartburn like sensation, but it couldn't be food poisoning because no one else was ill. Then my hands started itching. WEIRD. So I took a Benedryl, I think that helped a bit until there was some vomiting involved in the middle of the night. What the heck was that? I didn't eat anything "new". Something must've been mixed in a spice or something that I'm not familiar with or ... it was the dreaded later in life allergy development. Please no. Please no.

School picnic on Saturday. Yeah love recovering from a food allergy incident and then going to mingle at a Potluck. It was initially intimidating, but you know, you fake it like it's all good, and by the time I left I was actually feeling more human which is good because we had reservations later that night at this fancy Chinese Restaurant that's getting all these accolades as my gift to my husband for his birthday. It was delicious, I felt great.

Sunday I swam outside in the real life sunshine. It was magical. I'm instantly transferred back to my youth. I messed around in the kitchen working on a ravioli recipe modifying some ricotta filling I use in a lasagna. Ricotta, frozen spinach, an egg yolk, fresh basil, prosciutto, salt and pepper food processed and then slapped into the thinnest won ton wrappers. I did a huge batch. Tonight is the unveiling. Fingers crossed. Off the top of my head, I think I would add some parmesean to the mix. Meh. Worth a shot as is right guys?

Wishing you the best.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A little bit of this and that.

My moments of nothing are reduced to a few hours in the evening these days. It's not a bad life by any means, but the knitting is just a round or two when I can spare it.


I had a moment on Monday. Always need a pair of socks going, easy to throw in a bag and knit a round when you find yourself with the unexpected moment. These are Skyp socks in Felici. A squishy knit. Not my best work but I'm ok with that.


Please don't ask about the baby sweater ... I'm derailed momentarily. I want to slap my forehead just thinking about it.


We are finding that even on our days off doing something fun, like celebrating my husband's birthday on Sunday out at his mother's we are bringing laundry with us, because we are so behind. His brother teased us, "still the college kids." But hey we live in a 6 unit with 1 washer and 1 dryer. We take the opportunities.



Monday was also the first day of High School for The Kid. He is sooo too cool for me and my "recommendations".


We went and bought him new running shoes and new cleats since we didn't have time before school started. I found out I've had my poor son in shoes a 1 1/2 sizes too small this summer. I'm a horrible mother, I really am.

Life continues with a lot if this and that this first week of school. His soccer practice on Thursdays doesn't get out until 8pm ...

We aren't nailing it, but I think we're ok. We're still getting it done, still laughing and at least we're tired enough to sleep, ha!

Friday, August 4, 2017

The summer check-in


August is upon us and I feel like I was just getting settled into summer.

Since I last posted I sort of barreled through June at work, trying to prep for holiday with my family. My sister, her son, my husband and my son all flew out to Germany together in July to see my parents in Germany.


My husband stayed a week, my sister and I stayed 2 and then our sons stayed 10 more days and my Mom flew back out to the states with the boys last night.


My sister and her family drove down with my Dad and Stepmother to San Diego for my other nephew's graduation from Boot Camp. My mother is flying down to join them. After meeting her bestie out in Las Vegas, Mom will return to spend a few days with each of her daughters before she returns to the Colonel who is working away and already missing her.

I packed way more knitting than I actually got done. (Isn't this always the case) And my mother had a gift for me ... GIANT knitting.


I have some loose ends I'm finishing up in the knitting world before I tackle that! LOL. We will see how this turns out.

This trip to Germany was really relaxing and family oriented. We had our usual walks in the evening and even added some morning walks in the woods when there was time.

We would go bowling on base or play German miniature golf (open 5-8) in the valley. So pretty, there were ponies and sheep just around the corner. We always saw a neighborhood crew of men were never playing but sitting out in the sunshine having a lazy drink and a long chat.



When we were out and about in the evenings we played Catwatch Germany 2017, where we would be on the look out for cats and take a picture of it. We are going to assemble a page dedicated to Catwatch in our photo album hehe.

As usual our parents wanted to take us out to dinner where we had some delicious things, but it was really nice to also BBQ at home. The kids would play badminton or hang out and chat with us. I got to take over the grill. hehe.


On a whim during the first week my mother decided we should take a "day trip" to Paris on the TGV. After she secured seats my husband and I found a really lovely AirBnB in the Marais that could sleep all of us. It was really family friendly especially for one evening and had a nice living space that we could all hang out in when my Uncles dropped by in the evening.



It was a whirlwind, but it was lovely to show the boys Paris at night and run out way past bedtime and walk to get them a crepe and some ice cream. Ahhh Paris.





We also took a day trip to Heidelberg which was a lovely University town complete with castle ruins and a river.


It was a great trip.

I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't already daydreaming about when and where I'm going to knit my next pair of vacation socks -- technically start them, ha!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wednesday WIP


Proof that I have started work on the neighbor's baby sweater. Still just on the body right now, but the back and forth clickety clack of stockinette is calming and relaxing.

Hoping to finish this up by the end of the weekend and do a little work on my Mojito socks before starting another baby sweater.

What's your Wednesday's work?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A finished knit and some ongoing commentary

I finished Annie's socks a few weeks back but didn't block them and didn't get a picture.

Well here we go. After a few crazy weeks I have a finished knit!



Recently I got side tracked by Bridget's Mojito socks. I was so smitten, I started a pair of my own. Clare was kind enough to gift me this yarn after her last trip to visit the family in the UK. I went with the blueberry waffle because I've been dying to give it a try. It's delivering the fun.


My neighbor's baby was about 7 weeks early so I really must get on that baby cardigan. Time to put away the mojitos for a bit.

In other news, I did not get the new position I applied to. I knew it was a long shot. But I think I'm still a little unsettled in how it has left me feeling -- funny how that works. I think I'll use my summer as a chance to reassess my priorities. I'm not despondent or anything, but I feel much like that weird parenting emotion where you hope your child will do something without being told and yet ... they don't.

Disappointed but not surprised? Slightly irritated, but not dramatic?

On the family front, I'm down to ONE more soccer match for the season. A reschedule from April? I can't remember, anyways. I have enjoyed watching The Kid run around and improve this season, but being team Mommanager has been a little stressful this spring. I'm looking forward to a break.

The Kid had his last day of school on Thursday. It was bittersweet. I keep having these dreams of him when he was smaller. I dream his small voice saying, "Mama! looking for me in the apartment as if it were a huge mansion.

Anyways things are always shifting. Still trying to keep things somewhat tidy. Still trying to not yell so much. Still looking for another hour to knit. Still trying to sleep more.

What are you trying to do these days?

Next post will be cooking and baking adventures, till I have some more knitting to share!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Progress Post

I'm planning on finishing up that new pair of socks for my friend Annie this weekend. I did return the repaired pair to her because I was so excited to have actually pulled that off.


I have lost the ball band on this yarn, but it's a bit thicker than my usual stuff. It's sturdy and will be good for her padding around her big kitchen with a cup of tea and a laptop going and fresh granola baking. (Yeah, she's that kind of lady. Her 3 kids have a hot breakfast every morning and remind me to tell you how we met over her Martha Stewart Syle Homemade Kale chips some day ...).

Anyways. I love my double point needles for sock knitting. I like how they prop up the sock as if it's shaping up around an invisible leg, but I have had a hard time NOT knitting socks with the circulars these days. It feels faster. Also I feel like I'm constantly shoving my knitting inside a bag in a hurry and I seem to lose less stitches with the circulars. I know I have some point protectors ... somewhere, but that is the problem; they are somewhere, but where, I do not know.


I'm feeling really monogamous now so I'm pretty sure I will finish off this pair of socks before I cast on for a Gramps cardigan. Very truthfully, I really need to organize my knitting gear. I love my stuff, but it's a hot mess right now.

How's your knitting gear? Did you manage a spring clean?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Gosh Darn it!

This is a story about me actually fixing a sock. I had finished the gusset on a pair of simple ribbed socks and was feeling the groove.

Then the holey sock looked at me from the side of my bed sad, despondent, neglected, cast aside.

My heart can be cold but it tries not to be cruel. So before I finished my new sock I picked up the broken sock, determined.

In my last post I "woe is me'd" a bit and you all were very supportive. Many of you are my people and suggested just knitting her a new pair. I've decided the new socks I'm knitting are already for her, so she'll definitely get a new cozy pair.

Steph suggested embroidering over it (fancy!) Nancy suggested pulling out the toe stitches just below the hole since the damage was up near the top of the foot. (Feeling too impatient.)

Autumngeisha sent a link I'd been eyeballing and it felt, right. This looked more my speed. I also used this one for reference from cookie A.

My first attempt I picked up my "anchor" stitches too close to the hole and it wasn't secure enough in my opinion. This time I knew better. I took the advice to pick up the right of each stitch I needed. It made it easier to see the spacing.


Knit a row! Purl a row!


Yes that's my keyboard. What? One must utilize the the lunch hour the best you can. After that set up row of knit/purl you pick up a stitch to the right of your first stitch to k2tog. That's what I'm doing below:


K2tog 4ever and ever. big hear eye emoji. On the otherside of your knit row, you pick up to the left and SSK. Purl as usual.


You need to eyeball before you pick up for those stitches that tack your patch down on the sides.


See the little patch coming along?


And then between mouthfuls of lunch at the desk and trying to darn a hole in my sock and take photos lunch was over so the rest of the photos take place at home in the knitting chair.

This was when my patch was of length. I just knit until I felt like it was sufficient, after lots of eyeballing. Now this is where you can start grafting with an egg. But that wasn't happening. I took Cookie A's cue and inserted a dpn a few rows above the hole to kitchener it off.


I turned the sock inside out to weave in some ends. Meh. Not pretty, I was worried it might feel bumpy on the foot...


But amazingly the patch was pretty comfortable inside. I think they'll be used as slipper socks though, not with shoes. The patch itself not being knit in pattern looks, okay. The SSK is a little rough, but I'll try to smooth that out next attempt.


Now, back to our regularly scheduled sock knitting. I've got small people cardigans to knit next :)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Knitting Status

Indeed the epic baby blanket is finished.


It feels divine, but it was definitely a labor of love. The final edging didn't turn out exactly as I wanted it too, but I'm hoping after I block it, it will be a little less annoying. My measuring skills were wonk city.


I will not lie, as soon as the last end was woven in I couldn't wait to cast on for a new pair of socks. Socks glorious socks. Just something simple I said. I sort of blindly threw my hands in the stash and pulled out a perfectly purplish ball.

I was on auto-pilot for the cast on and ribbing so that dictated what non stockinette pattern I was going to do. It was a 60 stitch cast on so I went with just a basic ribbed stitch.


It's giving me the happy. I secretly plan on knitting on this by headlamp as much as possible this week.

And that brings us to what I REALLY NEED TO DO.


Remember these? I knit them for my friend Annie. She gave them back to me with a small hole, wondering if I could repair it. I thought, hmm. I should learn about this.

That was almost a YEAR ago.

I started trying to repair it, maybe a little too late at night. It didn't work. But when I pulled it out ... I made the hole bigger.

Sigh. Any advice or reference for hole fixing is greatly appreciated.

Good knits and good things to you and yours.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The catchup

Well, well, well ... surprised to see me?

Yeah me too. I've been a boring knitter these days and roller coaster of busy so I just didn't post. But here is the catch-up:

Knitting: I am literally finishing the garter border on my baby blanket. I'm definitely at the yarn chicken point, but I'm going for it. If I have to back it out to get the right number of rows, I'll lifeline it to reduce pain. 

My plans of finishing it this past weekend were interrupted by a horrible stomach bug which I'm weakly recovering from. I wore my Ravelry hoodie and slip on shoes to work today, because that's about as fussed as I could be to get there. Unsurprisingly the work still tastes the same ;)

Things learned: My tape measuring skills may not be all I thought they were.

Baking: I had a good run of cakes for a bit.
A post shared by @theellenreport on

Then it went to pot.  I overbaked a bunch of stuff this weekend. I salvaged some cookies for soccer and the neighbors, so there's that. 



Secret Ingredient: Cream cheese

Family: Well, after a long arduous journey, we have pretty much finished the High School selection and assignment process. He was accepted to the 2 private schools we applied to (Drew School and Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep) 2 wonderful schools. He also got his first selection in the Public High School Lottery selection, Lincoln High, which is a very large All American high school with lots of great classes and teachers on the other side of town.

He ended up accepting a spot at his first choice, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in Media and Film Arts department. 

It was a long fought battle. H. submitted an initial portfolio mainly of photography and I think one stop motion piece. He then went in for his 2 hour audition. My understanding is that this was 1 part panel interview, 1 part writing assignment and then they put you in a group of other stranger children and they story boarded and shot their bit.

After the first round, we received notice he was not accepted but they would like to see additional work from him. So then he decided to work on a screenplay sample. The initial draft went surprisingly smooth. The editing not so much. The last weekend before the deadline I sent him to his room to work / edit it down. He went in with 7 pages and came out with 10. Edit was misinterpreted.

After some stereotypical Angry Asian Mom moments his father took over and it got done. He submitted and waited. 

Then we heard he did not get a spot. So we waited for the letters from SFUSD with the lottery results, fingers crossed.

But before the letters arrived I get a call from SOTA admissions saying there was a mix up and they knew a lot of families had already made *decisions and they didn't want to complicate things and send us the letter if we didn't want it, but ... he was accepted. I said, "we'll take the complication." The letters came later that day, and he found out he got into Lincoln as did 2 of his best friends. But his heart was with the art and his besties were very supportive of him. It meant the world to him to hear his friends say they would have to make sure to make plans on the weekends. I thanked their mothers in tears after, for raising such sweet boys. 

*Private schools have a decision deadline. Deposits and acceptance must be must be made in a week. For us, we had a day at this point, we were lucky and pretty comfortable with most of the public schools in the lottery.

The application process to private schools and some of the public selection schools is similar to college, tests, interviews, letters of recommendation. Hell, even the decision process reminds me of college (Big envelopes vs. little envelopes.) 

Things learned: 

  1. I may not be a helicopter parent, though I may not be the disciplinarian I thought I was, I parent from a place of using negativity as a lesson too much. Dang.
  2. As much as I am a firm believer in best fit for your child, I am a child of public school and even if we had gotten the financial aid was leaning towards the public school hard. 
  3. I think we're going to use this as an intro for the college application torment. And I'm going to bank some of that money for that SAT prep thing.

So now, I'm basically trying to stay, get? healthy, be a good worker and start decluttering my apartment, hard core. Oh and swear less. It's all really hard.

But that's me. What's been a challenge for you? What have you been changing up? 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

I remember there was a time I knit other things besides stockinette baby blankets. I can't really even use that "s" in good conscience since I know it's really only one baby blanket I've been slaving away on. Still haven't finished color 3/4. Whisper words of encouragement from your own needles to mine, friends ;)

I am still utterly and completely disgusted when I try on something new or get dressed in the morning and I'm ... unsatisfied but after all these decades I have to talk myself down from the ledge and remind myself that a number, a specific size does not matter as much as the actual fit of the garment.

I exercise and I exercise just to break even. I know it doesn't matter what size things are as long as I am healthy and things fit appropriately -- whatever it is you like to wear, yoga pants, crop tops, burlap sacks, they all have a best fit for you. Yet I get upset when I get something new and I feel like "it should've fit." and yet, back it goes. I work too hard for my money to shove myself into pants that may or may not put me into "sausage" territory.

Mmm. Sausage. If you're a vegetarian have you ever eaten soyrizo? It's soy chorizo, it's a fun way to jazz up some meatless dishes. breakfast burritos, mmm. Perhaps it's not your thing, but I do enjoy saying soyrizo. LOL.


I learned to make BAKED cheese sticks this weekend. I was trying to bake a strawberry teacake at the same time so I over baked them and they oozed everywhere, but the teenagers hanging out didn't care and agreed it should be "put on the list" of things to make when they gather. The first trick is the freezing. The second trick is to not be fooled by their pale color. They are finished, do not overbake. Pretty sure I used this recipe,


I'm such a weirdo, aside from desperately wanting to knit some "fun socks" I want to knit cardigans. -- This is what I think when I look at all my friend's sock pictures, "oh look, those are so fun! Look at those FUN colors! I might be able to do that FUN pattern!"

But I think I'm trying to manage my crazy cardigan desires by first deciding the next baby knit (or 2) will DEFINITELY be a cardigan. I might have to do her favorite Gramps pattern. I love it too. Apparently I made one for a baby who will be turning 2 soon and he still wears his too small version. Time for an upgrade.

Two best compliments: Someone asks for a recipe. Someone wears what you knit.

Life is busy but it's good. Miss you. Keep at knit.