Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Knitting Gungho is Gone.

Crap, this is going to be a short post. Short like HM short. ha! Therefore it shall be short and full of spirit!

~Sidenotetangent-thing: Another reason I like HM -- when she said to me, "I never noticed your grayhair. Perhaps it's because I'm shorter than you." Gotta love her.

So really my knitting gun-ho is failing me. My works in progress are making my eyeballs roll up inside the echoes of my brain.

The lacy stole in shiny pima cotton: Ugh Puh-Leeze. This thing is hibernating so hard it barely even waves from the depths of my In progress basket.

Harry Potter Sweater: I was going to keep it at 20" now I think I'm going to take the length to 22". I think the indecision on the dimensions has got my stomach in knots. After the first sweater failed attempt. I'm gun shy. I don't think Lu will ever forget the day I held up my sweater at the nail salon and she said, "I think you put the pocket on the back. Sheesh.

Arm warmers: Well I finished them and found a taker, Sister. She wants them. They look shorter on her arms than mine. I told her I need them to check the dimensions on another pair that are in progress right now. Really they just need their ends woven in. Ugh. The thing is the school secretary saw them in progress and said she loves them. I told her I was going to make her a circle scarf. She said she'd rather have arm warmers. Well who am I to argue with the client? So I started another pair, thinking I could bang them out fast.

Not so fast Ellen ...

Gaptastic Cowl: Seed stitch, I found my rhythm with this one. Even though I'm using US 11s and not US 13s, every row is a decided round of growth. On the other hand it's seed stitch. Tedious, boring and tedious. Seriously, I have no idea when this cowl will end. Hopefully soon, but that would mean you need to spend time on it.

So this is it right? Not so overwhelming, just uninspiring. I'd like to start Little Al's blanket. I even hiked myself up to Imagiknit after swimming on Sunday to get a longer pair of circular US 13, Addis. ahhhh. However I cannot take on a blanket with two other slow going projects on the in progress needles at the same time. Even the second pair of armwarmers in a new set of yarn is proving to kick my knitting ass. I have dropped/slipped stitches off the double points more than once and the yarn splits a little and is a variegated black, which is a puh-ain to re-needle. So I hear the Sweater Guru and HM and Lu tell me, why bother knitting something if there is no joy? Why indeed. There is no shame in casting on something else.

I think reading has put me back into some perspective. I think I will try to finish the back piece of the sweater. Then I finish up an arm warmer, which is supposed to be a gift. You know this just means I'm going to work on the cowl...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Exactly What is Knot Happening

It'll tell you what's not happening, stuff that I understand but am rebellious towards. For example:
  • First swim in a long time is much more painful as you get older. You can begin to feel sore on your way home from the pool. I'd like to blame it on my "knitting injuries" which is essentially sitting on my butt. But wait, knitting is kind of like muscle isolation right? *Sigh, I wonder how many more of these swims it's going to take to ache less. Looks like this mommy is havin' an advil cocktail at some point in the next 24 hrs., hmm. maybe 12  or ...
  • I love the pretty things in my chocolate jar at work, with their pretty seasonal Valentine's day wrappers: peanut butter, cookies and cream, and chocolate cherry swirled hearts. I would be surprised if I end up eating even one of them.
  • Friday ADHD day. I have nickel and dimed at a million tasks today and have nothing completed. Loser. Monday will be intense. Yesterday was a depressing document review, I suppose this is called improvement.
  • All week long it is has been sunny and mildly warmer, you know that nice 68 or so that we love out here in the Bay Area. Did I get out? No, I did knot. I was a shut in for the lunch hours. Anyways, I managed to wear a skirt today, comfortable enough to feel like wearing jammies without actually wearing them. The sun has never really broken through.
  • I have not knit more than 2 rows altogether in a combined 4 day. This must be amended.
  • I have not pre-cleaned before my parents arrival this Sunday. There is a chance they will not come over until Monday. This might be in my favor. However it means I cannot roast a chicken until then. The colonel always likes me to roast a chicken when we visit together, which I think I've mentioned before. Since roasting a chicken brings me much happiness, like an easy 4 row repeating pattern ... this is not a problem, I look forward to it. I do not look forward to grocery shopping.
  • I need to get my hair done. You know, cleaned up, and un-grayafied. However trying to schedule this has not been easy. I went and stood comparing the various shades of brown in the aisles of Walgreen's. Wish me luck. Hair and science experiments will take place this weekend.
  • Craft night is tonight w/the SF Crafty Beavers and I soo want to just lay butt to cushion somewhere, anywhere in my house with my advil and listen to whatever Harry Potter Audiobook The Kid is obsessing on now. I love craft night. I will go and be happy and I did, and I can put my butt on a cushion with The Kid dodging chores tomorrow.
It's not that I'm not doing, but it's that I'm fixated on what I'm not. Instead of "wisely using my time and energy" as I always prattle and preach on to my poor kid and husband, I am flitting and fleeting and would probably be bleating if anyone would actually be charitable enough to listen to me ... again.

(Note between the last few bullets and here I transfered money into both the Old People's Account and the Future Therapy or Grand Tour or I want my own apartment ... NOW Account. Guilt people is just another form of shame.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday Whackiness

  • Lunchbox gawking at school is awesome. Last in-school day for me, I checked out Little Yo's lunch box and saw her nifty bento box small bites. We do something similar, but there were new ideas in there like small cut bits of bread. This has come in handy when The Kid has sworn off sandwiches. (He says he's taking a break, but he's been taking a banana break for 4 years now ...) So instead of just crackers for a "cheese board" bento, I've been making focaccio strips, and toast points and split and toasted buttered Epi leaves. It's also reinspired me. So it's not just deli meat and prosciutto wrapped breadsticks. We've gone to leftover drummettes and cooked sausages, but the pressure is now on.
  • I found myself saying, geez. I didn't knit at all because I read instead. The choices we make. I missed my milestones for The Harry Pooper Potter Sweater and completing the second handwarmer of a pair.
  • I'm having a really bad hair day. Staring at a spreadsheet that will not give me the answers I want, and trying to convince the developer I'm working with that this cannot be happening is not helping, in desperation for the right answer i put my hands in my hair every other minute.  I look very old and gray and floppy and stringy all at the same time. It's horrible. Thank goodness I'm thin! (Ha, SARCASM)
  • I have begun a toasted seaweed snack taste test. It isn't one of my formal ones where I have been writing down brand names, spreadsheeting them and ranking etc. Just more like, damn I need a non crunchy carbohydrated potato cracker snack. Voila. It started as seaweed handouts from various co-workers. And then I stole one from The Kid's lunch pantry. And now ... I will have to forage, because the obsession is at about 8.5 right now. There is room to grow.
  • The given: I need a pair of US 13 32". The truth: I have a set in 26" too short. The dilemna: Do I get them online or do I get them at the Local Yarn Store? I wanted to start the 1 row blanket this weekend.
  • Microwaved organic chix nuggets smell and taste like 6th grade cafeteria food. I ate them anyways.
  • This year all magical Red Envelopes will have $3 in them because it is the lucky number I am picking. I also checked with my cultural advisor and there is no hypocrisy to this.
  • I signed up for 2 5K walks in February. You know what that means, while a portion of my registration fees will go to various good causes, I'm still paying $30 to exercise and be somewhere at 8am on a Sunday. Wow, it's weird to expend so much energy on discipline. Ironic?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's true I read like a teenager.

Here's a rundown of the fun times since the holidays. A cross between enjoying a story, and being in complete denial of one's domestic responsibilities...

American Assassin - No lie, this was my first purchase for my Nook. It was a fun read, except for torture. You know, fingernail pulling, even if not great detail is given, it's a gross-out. Torture is bad. Still, much like the reviewers said, had a great Jason Bourne feel to it.

Hunger Games Trilogy - The Man Friend got me this for Christmas and was saddened that he got hardbound collection when he saw I got a Nook. Regardless, the story is fast paced. There is a love triangle in it that made me nervous  (in the is your romance going to kill my action story kind of way). It was a satisfying read. I managed to read all 3 over the MLK weekend.

The Book Thief - Hands down my favorite read lately. Visual, a good story narrated by death during World War II in Germany. The author was not rushing me towards the end, he enjoyed his words and let me enjoy them without feeling like he was trying so hard. Elements of sadness, hope with great characters. Whoa humanity.

The Imperfectionists - More like a series of short stories that rolled into one novel about a fictional International newspaper in Rome. The first short story read like meh. I was regretting outloud to the manfriend, that perhaps this wasn't the best Nook purchase idea ... but I kept reading. You know, it was alright. I preferred the contemporary story than the italicized backstory of the history of the paper. Maybe it was just reading italicized chapters. It was better than I thought it was going to be, but I was not wowed.

Starship Troopers - Yeah, so I prefer the camp of the movie than the military life of a sheltered turned facist officer of the Federation in writing. Yet for the most part I still enjoyed reading it. What's wrong with me?

The Lost Hero - So yeah, I really enjoyed The Lightening Thief series. It's true, I've read a few of them more than once. It's also true that it's no Harry Potter. I say "Yay" to that. Let each story be. The main character is smart-ass but is likeable and I took Latin for 4 years, so it's nice to have something besides Steven Saylor and the Classics to bring together mythology and reading to enjoy. Ha! This story focuses on new characters, beginning a new series, bringing back familiar settings and characters. Good escapism. It's like a fantasy afterschool special. heh.

In progress: I got P&P for free on my Nook. I started reading that last night and decided that I would skip over some of the boringo stuff, and get closer to Volume II where we see Lizzie visit Mr. & Mrs. Collins' and Lady Catherine Du Bourgh, and where Mr. Darcy disdainfully professes his love. *sigh. I know, I know, what a sap. You should see Man-friend's expression when he catches me reading Jane Austen again.

*Word I love to say after reading/watching any Austen: Insufferable!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Being Bossy ...

I have been accused countless times of being bossy.

I admit, like most bossy people, once I realized, I truly was bossy, I didn't mind all that much. I learned that all those stories you read when you are little where bossy is equated with rude and mean. Hmph! Simply not true. How could I possibly be rude and mean?

Yesterday morning as I barked at The Kid to get his shoes on (for the third time), responded, "I would do it, if you didn't boss me around."

Hmmm. Oh really?

Me thinks not. Me thinks if you just did it, my mouth wouldn't have to work the overtime it does.

So I said so.

Part of being bossy is getting in that last word for you beginners.

Okay but now is where I really learn you all something. The deconstruction of my bossiness.

Justification 1: Bossiness is a way of managing everyone's expectations.
Truth 1: Bossiness is a way of managing my expectations.

Justification 2: If I don't boss, things seem to flail and I have to wait for organic evolution of things getting done. Everyone is stressed out when it becomes last minute and then I have to calm everyone down which is just work for me in the end. Therefore, I'll work in the beginning to boss you around until well, you're happy or at least not anxious, making me more anxious. (mutter something about family here)
Truth 2: People need direction. I like my direction.

Justification 3: Silence is complaisance. It's a favorite bossy person's attack on the passive aggressive people. (you know who you are, Bossies know how to use that weapon too ha!) I assume that you don't really have specific needs or preferences if you don't mention them. I can make assumptions on how well I know your personality type and will try not to be an a-hole about making you do something you don't want to do.

Then again. Maybe I don't want to do it either. Maybe there are things I'm bossing you around on that HAVE TO GET DONE WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT SO YOU CAN SUCK IT.

Truth 3: Seriously people, that is the truth.

I'm a fidgety, twitchy, nervous person. I find things to do, lists to make and yarn to knit for this reason. There is something frightfully rewarding about getting shit done. It is very hard for me to get things done, because I'm so easily distracted. My whole life is about trying to get me to focus. I see other people more capable.

I see people capable that don't. And I feel cheated and jealous that what comes to them so easily they don't even make effort to do.

Bossiness is my own personal overcompensation mode.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Signs of Fever

It's true, the glass eyes, the flushed face, the inability to do anything but sort of keep oneself  on a couch or chair ...

It could be The Kid's fever that I just finished nursing ...

Or it could be my Knitting Fever.

Saturday's half-assed attempts turned to serious productivity. I decluttered the desk (I was given a positive verbal rewarding from husband). I dropped The Kid at a friend's house to sleepover. I finished the day with a trip to Imagiknit, with a purchase price decreased thanks to a friend's generous gift and got myself supplies to make "Envy" and the "Gaptastic" Cowl. After that ... not done with productivity, I went to the grocery store on my way home to get fixings for Chicken and Dumplings.

I finished the bandanna shawl, that night.

The next day I worked on Envy while The Kid slept for 3 hours and snuggled with me on the couch as we listened to Harry Potter on his ipod. I made Chicken and Dumplings for the first time. It was OK. I will try another recipe another time.

The Kid wasn't eating or drinking very much. He was very lethargic, I knew it wasn't looking good. I shouldn't have been surprised when he came into my room at 2am and said, "I can't sleep! I'm so hot Mom! I'm burning!" Another dose of Tylenol, forced sips of water, and a gentle (but apparently burning!!) wash cloth wipe down ... We fell asleep together in his bed, with both the heater AND the fan on.

Monday was just Mom and Kid. Still couch bound, still weak and not very hungry, I knit and read aloud, while he just looked like a flushed, fluffy headed, big eyed sick kid. I finished Envy. I weaved in ALL the ends to the handwarmers, The Scowl and The Kid's vertical striping/funky proportioned camo blanket. (I told him he didn't have to keep it, since he uses the crocheted basket weave all the time. But he declined). He used it a little after the ends were finally done.

Not sweating, but finally thirsty, the fever spiked to 103 in the late afternoon. He was okay he said. And then it broke. I didn't have to prod him with a thermometer ... again. He was chattering to his father and asking for dessert.

I did two rows of a leisurely lace project and slept very well that night.
I dream of knitting and I dreamt of yarn.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Attempts

I was up early this morning. The Kid had his friend JB spend the night and they have been shooting nerf guns, building legos and listening to Harry Potter. (I have been listening to Harry Potter too, I get sucked in and suddenly all chores come to a grinding halt.)
Anyhow, there I was making sausages, cinnamon rolls and blackberry breakfast, debating between coffee and tea when I thought, what am I going to do today ... with children? But I don't have to do anything. They pretty much entertain themselves. I throw some chow on the table and remind everyone to wash their hands and say "No" when necessary. You know, like the bug creator oven dug out of the closet that both Man Friend and I told the Kid to NOT dig into. Or shooting the "Cannon" in the kitchen or at me. The kid is a sweetheart and a really good influence for Henry. He's a very good guest, and if his manners rub off slightly without our kid tarnishing his ... yay team.
I thought I would knit, but got distracted by dishes. And then JB said he's allergic to bunnies, and I went to double-check my yarn and see if it was angora. Anyways, I ended up starting to sort through a large stack of paper on my desk and then ended up on my computer.
Do you see where this Saturday is leading? To half ass attempts left around. Ugh. But if I just do a little bit and FINISH that little bit it will be okay.
... Is that something sparkly over there? ... Where is my water glass. Hmm.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Crazy callin' it like it's Crazy

Yes I am knitting crazy. I am knitting on MUNI, I am knitting waiting anywhere I have to wait.

I am treating myself to knitting daydreams and reading knitting blogs between my daily sets of "have to".

And that is when I came across true confirmation of Knitter's Kray Kray aka Crazy.

See here:

Cool picture with craft in appropriate domestic environment? Check.

Cute Cat picture with cute craft? Check.

Fancy Yarn? Check.

More cat references? Check.

WTF Moment: When I realize this project costs approximately $250 without shipping and these crazy ass knitting people make a blanket that the cat makes love to in one home, just to move it to another home for another cat to hump on. Seriously people? $250 not including shipping, it should come with a cat. Because obviously it must be a crazy cat lady spending that much money on yarn to be shipped for a blanket that is going to be ...

It's very circular, redundant and crazy.

I still want to do the project ... sigh.

The Bandanna Shawl

As I was visiting, I mean reorganizing my yarn this weekend, I came across some yarn tidily tucked up in a perfect size plastic bag. Kid Haze and some sparkle stuff with a line pulled out of each was ready to go.

I got this yarn so nicely prepared by a now closed LYS. The owner was one of those creative driven people that decided to take all that talent and creativity and drive and pursue something else. Who are these people that can't handle success in just one place? ;)

The yarn was for a free pattern by G, one of the people that worked at the studio. I was still REALLY green at knitting, but the owner was so supportive and was like, "trust me, you can do this." It's so soft and sparkly at the same time, I took the yarn and ... hoarded it. God knows, at the time,  I was probably struggling with some bad lace pattern with acrylic yarn not purchased there. Ha!

Anyways, I thought this is perfect! A triangle quick knit shawl on US 13 needles. Soft! Fuzzy! Slightly sparkly! Yay!

It's proven relaxing and fun, and a great distraction to weaving in ends on 3 pairs of handwarmers and a Neck Scowl.

The funniest thing is I've had at least 3 people see me knitting the beginning of it and say, "Oh what's that?" and I look at and say, "It's pretty huh?"

But they don't see it. "It's going to be a triangle shawl."

"Oh," --  still giving me a blank expression.

I take out my, now precious free pattern and wave the end picture at them and they say, "Oh!"

I am totally going to use this pattern as a stash buster for some random yarns I've pulled into the stash.

Pattern and Photo by Ginny Uyesugi for Urban Knitting Studio

Feeding the Stereotypes

I like to think that I don't support stereotypes. At least outloud THAT often, and when I do, I display enough context to get away with it.

It's all lies.

The Scene: 7:10am family breakfast table.
The Vibe: pressed for time, as one and only child eats one jam, and one nutella piece of toast for breakfast. There is a buffer since Dad is driving this morning. However it is possible Mother has used this buffer to let fluffy headed, cranky pants sleep a 10 extra minutes.

French American Father: Did you finish your homework?
The Kid: Hmm, I finished 2 pages.
Asian American Mother: Bring it here.
FAF: You have a lot you didn't do.
The Kid: Write me a note.
(parents exchange, "what a brat" expressions)
FAF: Finish your breakfast.
AAM: Finish your homework.

Kid is allowed a bite of toast between completing homework questions/problems. Face is covered in HM strawberry jam and Nutella, robe dusted with crumbs. Two pencils used.

End Scene

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I like the potato. I like it more than bread, less than rice but probably on par with pasta and maybe noodles.

Not that I'm judging.

HM had been doin' a lot of scallop potato smack talkin'. I imagined her well seasoned cooking: bubbling cream like hot lava between the Teutonic plates of thin, uniform slices of happy potato. (Hmm, I wonder if she used Russets?) I saw the reddish orange tinge of nutmeg and cheese (I think I will try paprika next time) and the dark brown of flavor on the edges of her pan begin to crust. Ahh, pan of thin potato if only you were mine.

However her pan of potatoes was not for me, and though I know she'd offer to make me some the next time I crossed her threshold, I'll probably be over it by then. ha!

The thing she did do was plant the potato seed ...

The Man-friend had a marinating pork chop in smoked paprika, bay leaf, garlic, onion and salt and pepper and olive oil when I got home. I noticed 2 large Russets peeled in a water bath. "What are you gonna do with that?"

"Oh probably saute them ..."

See my face fall. "HM said she's going to make scalloped potatoes. Can I make a galette? You know, with some onion and stock? Maybe a little cheese ... um but just at the end?"

"Sure, sure, why don't we use the Mandolin*" (which I call the Madeleine by the way).

I get my very own uniform slices of potato. I do not cut myself because he does the slicing, though he promises to built my confidence next time. (This is important if I am ever to get the correct size/texture for cucumber noodles).

He pat dries the slices when I am ready, and I work evenly *potato, salt and pepper, a little sweated, seasoned onion and garlic, dabs of butter and repeat from * as us knitters say ... in my new rectangle Pyrex dish.

It was tasty. I didn't over season, in fact I think cutting back on the salt and adding a little smoked sea salt to the onions and garlic was the way to go. I just wish I had had leeks. Next time.

Actually next time ... I'll  make them scalloped.

Monday, January 3, 2011

End of Year Eating - Random moments of the holiday just past

Watching my SIL feed baby R clam chowder for the first time. "MMMMmmm. Ahhhhh!" He dips in his bread and makes big eyes. He asks for the spoon and she keeps him at bay for as long as possible, making sure he eats first. Finally with a smile -- since she can no longer resist his smile she hands him the spoon. Scoop and lift, and just before the spoon gets to his mouth, he flips it, and a drop makes it into his baby birding mouth and the rest drips down his shirt. Even when the chowder actually goes inside his shirt, he does not stop smiling and licking the spoon. I don't know if I've ever loved chowder so much.

Pap put tumeric on in his Cauliflower Gratin. Hmm. Really? Well apparently, I had two servings.

Pap perfectly seasons a Prime Rib.

My Christmas Eve Gratin turned out really good. Maybe too rich for more than one serving.

For the girl who doesn't like complicated recipes, and desires to improve her lack of healthy eating habits, why am I drawn to taking a class on Terrines and Pates? Really? What's that about? Mmm Pork Rillette, duck rillette ... ahh.

Best term ever for grocery store Top Ramen or Cup of Noodle: Prison Noodles. Thanks Eee!

Thankful for such a great variety of good quality fresh fish in California. Ahi, Halibut and Sand Dabs oh my!

I secretly like to eat bacon and bananas. Not together as in smushed up in a pastry; take a bite of bacon, take a bite of banana method. And incase you are about to ask. No, I don't want any of your peanut butter.

Not so secret: I take Uncrustables to work so I can eat peanut butter and jelly since my kid is allergic to it and I don't like to have it out and about at home.

Pleased to announce that my second try with the spicy pork terrine was more flavorful than the last. No regrets in getting it again, it will last me the week. It will be my reward for eating more fruits and vegetables ... meh.

Dungeness roasted with herb butter and garlic -- can't go wrong, especially enjoying it with friends and happy kids.

A bag of mandarins on my cube desk makes me feel bulky in a Costco kind of way, yet healthier too, like in that, I do yoga (once a week) kind of way. hahaha! Here's to ending the year in a happy way, here's to starting one even better if not just as good!