Friday, December 14, 2018

I lied to you.

I didn't knit this weekend or the one before that. I didn't manage a single row or round.

None of us are shocked. I know. It's okay, it was still a good weekend.

I slept, I had coffee, I exercised. I got some chores done. I kept my nag levels down. I did bake a bit.



This was my second time doing the brown butter cookies. I froze the dough for days I don't have time to do everything from scratch. I thought they baked up even nicer this time around. My son thinks I overbaked them. Shrug.

Sunday I cooked some food and baked cookies for my friend who recently had knee surgery. Our other friends had already been taking the family over some food to keep our friend off her knee a bit. Even though she's already healing pretty well, I wanted to help her out and hopefully keep her on the healing track.



My friend is Canadian so I used the opportunity to workshop a Maple cookie. My husband loved fiddling with the special message cookie stamp. I wasn't going to use it because I didn't have a lot of time, but despite a wonky C, we thought it was cute.



Most importantly they were tasty!



I experimented a bit with some gingerbread this past week and some sprinkle cookies and neopolitan cookies. Trying to figure out my Christmas game plan.

But really, this weekend I'm going to knit ...

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Once Upon a Knitting Time


A long long time ago I had the intention of knitting a larger hat for my cousin's baby who well ... was not a toddler anymore and had outgrown the original I knit him.

This kid is so loving and sweet. He is a HUGE fan of his Dad. I figured, why not matching father/son hats? So after a pause I knit a matching hat.

This little cousin has an older brother who works a lot in the stables and Kathy B said she gave fingerless mitts to her fellow stable volunteers where she lives so ... after a pause I knit a pair of handwarmers.

Well this older brother has an older sister who also works in the same stables ... so after another pause, I knit another set of handwarmers. So essentially 6 months after my original send date ... most of the family got some handknits.

My dear cousin in Colorado told me everything is fit. (I figured the elder siblings would work out which one got which pair -- same size and whatnot.) I apologized profusely for taking SOOOO long, but they were all very thankful and understanding.

The End.

I'm still finishing 2 baby sweaters. This weekend I swear it. I just am not knitting very much because that is just how it goes sometimes.

I do enjoy gifting knits, but I think I am going to do some random fancy free knitting in 2019.

Do you enjoy gift knitting?

Friday, November 16, 2018

The air is really bad in San Francisco

Our State is on fire. Unfortunately despite our amazing Emergency Responders people's lives have been lost and forever changed. Landscapes are scarred, and our horizons are unrecognizable.

Hundreds of miles from the nearest of the worst fires our air has officially put us at the top of the worst of the world list. (This is under some debate, but suffice to say it's pretty crap right now.)

I supply you with photographic evidence.

Last week  vs this week: the view from my street (admitting different zoom levels)



But seriously, where did the Salesforce tower go?!?

We are reduced to this when we have to travel outside. This is lunch with the ladies (I'm the second from the right.)


Ours schools were closed today. Sports for the kids have been cancelled after already being postponed. Playoff games were settled with a coin toss. (I had to verify this a few times).

With the fires up in Napa /Santa Rosa we experienced something similar. This is MUCH MUCH worse. Fire season feels like it has become a thing. Our lungs hurt, our eyes burn. Everyone feels a mess. 

Anyways. That's what is happening. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Scenes and Memories from October in San Francisco

Sometimes I'm not sure what to post. I don't produce a lot of knitting. My life is pretty routine. (This is not bad, but maybe not super exciting for the rest of you.)

So I thought I'd share a few photos from some moments between the grind this last month.

October is one of my most favorite months in the Bay Area. The weather wavers between a late summer and a crispy morning and evening. The light is lovely and the temperature is comfortable.



This photo was from a Sunday around 1pm when I went to meet my husband after a morning of exericse. I needed to pick up some flowers and we went to the Farmer's Market near our apartment at the Civic Center. It's not as nice a neighborhood compared to the other farmer's markets in the city, but it's always been our go to, though usually he goes on Wednesday mornings for work. I think he was somewhat amused to be there on a Sunday. (that's him in the bottom right corner, making the "where'd you go?" face.) It was funny because some of the farmers and vendors that have been in the stalls for over 10 years still ask him how our son is. When we lived in the Tenderloin when our son was born, he stayed home with the boy when I went back to work, and the Farmer's Market was part of their regular Father/Son weekly schedule. I probably had one of the few preschoolers addicted to pomegranates. Ha!

Just across the road before the City Hall Playground and Courtyard the trees were yarn bombed. This seems to be a regular occurrence, maybe it's a type of agreed upon exhibit? Last time I was walking around there, it was giraffes. But that weekend it was Otters in trees!?





I think the thing on his chest is a clam, but I can't get the photo to display in the correct orientation so you'll have to take my word for it.

At the beginning of the month I took a Friday off from work and watched the Parade of ships come in through the Gate for Fleet Week. There were only a few ships this year, and I didn't really get a photo because it was too far away and there were a bunch of people. But it was a lovely day. I sat outside with 2 very good friends and we had lunch with our toes in the sand and watched the tourists and the air show while our boys were all at school.






Blue Angels!



 What have been this month's highlights for you?

Friday, October 12, 2018

What's up Chickenbutts? Friday's This and That.

It's a fairly common greeting in my family. I try to mess around and make it all formal and royal like, "Hello, bottoms of fowl." It hasn't caught on yet. I have hope. Not a lot, but like I say some hope is better than none.

I am still knitting that damn baby sweater. (I love the sweater, but for some reason the stripey sleeves are kind of sucking the knitting life out of me.) The truth is that I often can't focus on knitting until about 11pm and I don't always have all my wits about me at that time. The last 2 nights have been some funky sleep cycles. My face is puffy. I hate that.

But some good things my friends! Because we can't whirly bird down the drain of despair any faster. It's not wrong to be a little skeptical, but it's easy to get lost in what we aren't doing or what we'd like better for ourselves and those we care about.

So I offer you 1. CAKE!!!!!! (this picture is of me and my crazy cake face. I have no shame that I love it. Vain? maybe, but hey I am not puffy!!)







YAAAYYY CAKE!!! I love this cake dearly. It took a couple runs for it to become as fluffy and delicious and moist as it did. It's a coffee cake that tastes a little like actual coffee/espresso. Both inside and in the glaze. Get the recipe here. Do not substitute the cake flour.



Alright I'll ease up on the exclamation points for you with this cake. This is a cheesecake bar with mixed berry topping -- end of season out this way. This went pretty fast at the office and I am making another one for our section's Thanksgiving potluck. I prefer the crust with Nilla wafers and pecans vs. graham crackers.

The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

I finished The Goldfinch and it was crazy good to me. It was definitely crazy. I'm really surprised that I liked it all the way through. It would be a book I would normally take issue with the editor and say, why did you let them ramble on like this? But it worked for me. The story of a child of tragedy that continues to endure a lot of self inflicted pain and conflict grows up with questionable characters also making questionable decisions. There is drug and alcohol abuse. There is art, philosophy and life in parallels to question.

I had friends that seemed to have read it through half covered eyes, wincing at all the crossroads. A few people I discussed it with couldn't back any of the characters and therefore didn't like it.

For me, I liken it to finding myself enjoying some old classic rock? No maybe jam rock? Where it starts off and the first 2 minutes I'm like, this is nice. I think I like this, and then 8 minutes later  I'm pulling my hair out going, "When is this hippie crap going to end?!?"

Essentially some of the drug induced experiences were very lengthy. There's a bit of losing time in certain settings. However for me, I enjoyed the descriptions. I could see and feel and I really had a sense of the pain and the desire to escape. I understood very well that feeling of knowing what you should do, and then not doing it anyways and then beating yourself up about. Rinse and repeat. Empathy, people. I had it.

Well that is all for now. The weather here is getting that fall crispy feeling. Or as I like to say, "smells like knitting weather." To which my entire family replies, "It's always knitting weather."

Love knows.

Wishing you all a good weekend.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Audiobook Review

There is not enough time to read. I've come to this place and I'm okay with it. So I listen to audio books now.  A lot. A little obsessively. Lately I'm working on a project that allows for this, not all tasks are conducive to listening to narrative. I'm not always listening. I'm often rewinding. But basically if I can, I listen.

I also listen a lot at home on the weekends when I'm trying to do my chores.

I like to listen while baking too. Baking is hobby time. If I'm home and I'm not baking I'd like to be knitting, preferably in front of the television set, because that is how dreams are made, duh. I'm sorry, but knitting and tv. still ranks higher than knitting and audio-booking for me.

So  here's what I've been listening to:

Pachinko
Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist)
Okay this is the winner hands down of my latest "reads". I was like an annoying teenager walking around in my own world of headphones when I was in this. I was knitting and crying while my family watched cult movies that I don't care about. I have told everyone that I loved it. I could think about it afterwards and want to cry. Takes place in occupied Korea and Japan. I forgot how capable I am of getting sucked into a family drama. It covers 4 generations if I remember correctly and it's heart is so full even when broken. A work, people. A work. "Exceeds expectations" LOL

Woman in the Window 
The Woman in the Window: A Novel
In the same genre as The Girl on the Train and the movie Rear Window. There are a lot of old movie allusions. I would say this would be a good vacation read. It's fun, it's not prose, it's a page turner. 2 of my best friends read it while we are on vacation, which is why I picked it up. I did think that the main character was a pretty good balance of broken with a heart in the right place. The author really tries to keep you sympathetic. In terms of what was going on ... yeah I figured that out pretty early, but I was still curious to see how it would all unfold. B

The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Simon & Schuster
This was definitely one I got from the Knitters. I know Kim Knits read it. But I'm pretty sure at least one more of you read it and I'm sorry that my brain cannot remember who. This had all the feels of a PBS special. You know, where a death brings everyone together in a big old house and lands past it's prime. It has family secrets, fraud, and all the good stuff. One thing I was a little disappointed in was that the author used a journal to share some backstory (i.e. clues) and I felt like it took away a bit for me until the main character found the actual journal. This is my issue I realize. I really enjoyed it more than I was expecting. Also the narration was great and I want to learn how to do a Cornish accent now. Just kidding.

A Murder of Magpies
A Murder of Magpies: A Novel (Sam Clair)
Okay before I get into it, the Brits are really serious about their Magpie themes. This is the 3rd book where magpies are a feature or reference. I also had to quick google to tell you that Magpies and Crows are not the same but part of the same bird family, though in the lore they seem kind of interchangeable.

Yeah about the story. I could not STAND the narration of this audiobook. Seriously the woman's intonation was that of an automated phone operator,
"Hello, you've reached (end high) company name (lower here)  pause to speak to  -- (follows same tone") press 2 (same tone)."
* I realize this may not translate and I'm sorry, but that's the best I can do, because I'm not inserting video/recording today.

Look that intonation is fine for a phone operator. It works. but to hear that intonation over and over again was killing me. The saving grace was the Mom character. Despite the main character's feelings of being in her mother's shadow, I liked her and I narrator's voice was better and she even seemed to change the narration a bit. My book friend at work thought I would like it because it's got that publishing world vibe. But the mystery wasn't all that. I honestly couldn't pay great attention to it, since it was more Corporate Financial mystery with a lot of loose screws. I dunno. Someone else read it and get back to me. I admit that my attention span waned so much but I was not invested enough to rewind. I do have it checked out in the book version to do a thumb through to see if what I missed was of any value. I'm not convinced. I'll let you know if that changes. I give it a C tops.

Well that's all for now. I'm working my through The Goldfinch and so far it's LOVE. I'll give you the full report when I finish.

I have a full weekend coming. My hopes and dreams in no particular order:

  • Make good snacks
  • Not get injured
  • No arguing with the teen. May I wish for a spider hug?
  • Bake TWO cakes
  • Finish a baby sweater -- including buttons! You all know how I get all pinched up when it's button time!
  • Dinner with friends who I do not see very often
  • Massage
  • Quality grown up beverage

Tell me, what are your hopes and dreams? Do you feel like you have to choose between reading and another hobby? What hobby do you wish you had more time for? Read anything you'd recommend?

Yours in knitting and best wishes,

Ellen

Monday, September 24, 2018

Chugging along

I don't really know about the title of the post. It's all I got right now.

Kinda lame post title, I know, I apologize but brain work funny sometimes or doesn't work sometimes ...
Anyways, there are those "things" that are happening. Not a theme of something specific, but -- things.

So let's start w/baking.



I have been trying to do something different or new to me or a rerun of something I wasn't pleased with lately. I aim for twice a week, but it really becomes once, because I still need my regular (people need to eat it) bake as well.

This week I tried blackberry cake using puree from Serious Eats. This was not my best work. Despite reading through the recipe a few times, I still managed to do things out of order and this was not good for the cake. The blackberry flavor did not come through and it was not as airy as I would've liked, a little dense. Fruit is always tricky. Also, I do not use my immersion blender very often so I was a little wild with it initially and my kitchen looked a bit like a gory science fiction blood scene. (Did you see The Thing? Are you familiar with alien blood, not to be confused with "Alien" blood that is actually flesh eating acid? HA!)

Regardless of my self induced mess, because I'm a sucker for punishment, and I like Stella Parks (aka BraveTart) I think I will try it again.

I finally cast on for a baby sweater and it's really cute.



I'm hoping to finish this one up within the week. That may seem like a long time to you for something that basically just needs some edging and small person sleeves, but this is my reality.

In an ideal world I'd cast on a pair of socks after because hello, socks! and I miss socks and I want to knit socks all the time, but I have a few other "to dos" that I think if I knit first, will help me enjoy a year of continuous sock knitting without concern for anyone else. Also guys, little not so secret, if you have too many pairs of socks, you can give them away really easily. People LOVE hand knit socks.

Selfish Sock Knitting -- it's ALL the rage.

Tell me are you knitting for yourself or others? What is your favorite thing to knit? Is it a constant favorite or do you like to trade it around?