Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Remember Me?

Well, well, well. We meet again, old friend.

I am talking, of course, about the Cuddlefish, who decided to hop into my knitting bag this morning and insists that I get his eyes down and cease this silly procrastinating, and who am I to argue? He's got a razor-sharp beak, and he knows how to use it.

So tonight, I'm finally finishing up this old project, or at least getting to the part where it's all coasting from here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Organization Times! (a.k.a. Settling In for Winter)

I have decided that, since Casa del PenName is all mine, I'm going to pretty it up real nice. So far, this has consisted of hanging up some Sound and Fury posters, and pinning Galveston up over the window (something else will go there eventually, but this works for now).

I think I need to do something more for at least one of the walls in the living room. I don't know if it needs paint, or stencils, or art, or what, but something is definitely needed. It's just a big, blank, empty space, and something needs to be going on to open it up and give it some visual interest.

Maybe I'll post some photos, and scribble ideas on them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dear PSS Prime

Every row on you takes forever and a day. I've been knitting on you for a hundred million years. Why aren't you done yet?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Mad Soaper Rides Again!

I'm going to make soap this week. It's been too long, and I miss the smell of saponifying oils and the fun of playing with dangerous chemicals in my kitchen.

Tonight, I'm going to try melting some dragon's blood resin in a carrier oil, and see if the scent holds true. If it does, tomorrow I'm making dragon's blood soap. If not, well, at least I'll know!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Jesus fucking christ, HOUSEFIRE!

Today, I tried to make soup. Chicken and dumplings, to be exact, which I have made multiple times and always turns out delicious.

Today, it turned out ON FIRE.

I had the pot on the stove, as per usual, waiting for it to come to a boil. I was right next to it, making the dumplings. I noticed that the burner was smoking a little, but that happens sometimes so I didn’t worry about it (MISTAKE #1).

I figured I’d turn the fan on high, and walked over to the front door to open it, since it seemed like there was maybe a bit too much smoke (MISTAKE #2). By the time I’d opened the door and looked back, flames were coming up from the bottom of the pot.

I ran back over and turned off the burner. I remembered that I don’t own a fire extinguisher (MISTAKE #3), but since I wasn’t sure if this counted as an electrical fire figured I’d be better off not throwing water on it regardless.

MISTAKE #4 was forgetting that grease fires exist at all, luckily I still somehow did the right thing:

Baking soda to the rescue!

I always keep a big box in the kitchen for cleaning purposes, so I ripped open the top and started tossing it at the base of the fire (i.e. my stove). When the flames were small enough, I grabbed my potholders and moved the soup to the sink, so I could throw more handfuls of baking soda at the fire. It went out pretty quickly at that point, and things started to disperse, THEN the smoke alarm started going off (Yeah, thanks for the heads-up, smoke alarm, you did a bang-up job there).

Then, I decided to sit down quietly for a while, and order a pizza.

New Spinning Wheel!

These pictures are, of course, of the new wheel that I got this past weekend. It cost me $50 (I can never turn up a wheel for less than $100, I just can't), and all of the things I needed to spiff it up I already had, leftover from when I refinished Balthazar.


For this renovation, I decided to just go with a good coat of paste finishing wax. I had a whole jar of it, it doesn't require a tarp and a driveway, and this wheel didn't look like it was varnished anyway.


I thought about oiling it up first, but then decided against it. The only thing I had in the house was olive oil, and for something as nice as a new wheel I knew that was a bad damn idea.

From what I can tell, this is a handmade wheel, probably from some kind of a small manufacturer. There's a roman numeral 13 carved into the underside of the body of the wheel, so I'm going to go ahead and assume she's the 13th one made.

I'm thinking of calling her Hestia, as the 13th Olympian, or Ganymede, because he's just so pretty.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crafting Insomnia

Well, it's currently 2:37 in the morning, and I am wide awake. So far, since midnight, I have:

- Cleaned the litter box
- Tried on various rennie clothes, trying to figure out my costume for this weekend
- Decided that none of my current choices are any good
- Looked up free patterns for how to make new rennie clothes
- Raided the fabric stash
- Found a pattern for an easy choli, and wondered if I can get away with burgundy and copper one, with lime green undershirt.

I may be going crazy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tired, Tireder, Tiredest

Today, a friend and I went and got the last of the everything from Mr. Ex's place. Total stuff hauled: just over 2 truckloads, but the first truckload was two bookshelves and the cat tree, so it hardly counts.

Holy crap, I have a lot of stuff! Like, a shit-ton of stuff. A metric assload of stuff. More stuff than I can shake a stick at, and I even brought my shakin' stick!

So tonight when I got home, after I rested and recovered, I sat down and started working on organizing the house again. I've got something like a reading nook in one corner of my living room now, where all 3 of my bookshelves converge with the papasan in what I like to call a triad of excellence, and I think I figured out a way to set my TV up on a small stand I've got, which hopefully won't even fall over.

All in all, I got through about half the boxes, but they were admittedly the easy ones. I mean, when you've got 8 boxes of paperbacks and an empty bookshelf, that's not exactly rocket science right there. Tomorrow, I get to go through all the little trinkets and gee-gaws and shinies and this-might-come-in-handy-somedays, and figure out which ones I'm going to actually keep, and which ones are being donated to Goodwill. The Master Plan is to have only so much stuff that I can have everything in the house put away at the same time.

Yeah, I don't think it's likely either.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Savory Poptarts?

There is a thing I have been wondering all day, and that is is it possible to make your own poptarts?

The Internet assures me that it is.

So then my question becomes, what else, aside from jam, can you use as a filling? Could you do savory poptarts, with spinach and feta? Like a little spanikopita in your toaster? What about cheddar and onion? Mmmmmm!

I'm not sure, but I want to find out. I have enough homemade jams and jellies (thanks, ChileRox! Jamology Jams are the best!) to create dozens upon dozens, and I'd love to have a poptart-making afternoon where all I did was bake and freeze stacks upon stacks of these... and now that I have a working camera again (finally replaced that damn cord - only took me a few years!), I could even take pictures!

So, yeah, that might be happening some time soon. I'll try and keep you posted.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Year 27 Starts Now!

Happy birthday to me!

Tonight, a bunch of friends and I are going to meet up, watch Black Sheep, and have a good meal (pizza, cheesecake, and margaritas). I am happy, and I have been for a while now. I feel good about my life, and I like where I am. I have good friends, a loving family (dad called pretending he didn't know how old he was, and TwinSis and I have been texting back and forth all day), and my health. (Well, aside from a pesky wisdom tooth that needs to come out, but it hasn't even been bothering me as much today so it doesn't count)

Life? Is pretty awesome. And I'm glad to be here. I hope you are too.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

It Has Begun

Today, I got a ride from a friend to the county clerk's office, and filed my Petition to Divorce. Later on, Mr. Ex came by and picked up his copy of the petition, as well as the Waiver of Service form (which means that he trusts me to handle the final Divorce Decree and doesn't want to have to go to court for it). Sixty-one days from today, I will be legally divorced.

It's... an odd feeling. I'm sad, remembering all the good times me and Mr. Ex had over the years (and there have been a lot of good times), but at the same time I'm really happy to be finally getting this done and over with. In a few weeks, I'm going to be getting the last of my things from his house, which will make the final paperwork incredibly simple - all of the things at my house are mine, all of the things at his house are his - and then we can go back to just being regular friends again.

In other news, I've been taking iron supplements for a week now, and WOW. I'm sleeping better, waking up easier, and I'm not nearly as tired during the day. Turns out that whole being anemic thing really does take it out of you; it's amazing what you feel up to when your cells are getting enough oxygen.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Year 27

In 14 days, I am turning 27. 27 has always been my lucky number (3x3x3), so I have decided that this is going to be the Year of PPN Improving Her Life. Basically, I've decided to take my life by the reigns and give it a swift kick in the ass. So, I've compiled the following list:

- Daily affirmations of my awesomeness. I hear this really works?
- Drop 40 lbs. Goal weight: 160!
- Pay off my credit card ($3500).
- Study for, take, and PASS my GRE.
- Apply for a promotion at work.
- Drink at least 1 cup of water every day.
- Exercise for 10 minutes, at least 3 times a day (aside from any other walking).
- Stay on the iron pills and brain drugs.
- Get rid of the clutter in my house.
- Learn to give myself orgasms.
- Complete NaNoWriMo.
- Do one nice thing for someone every day, even if it's small.
- Learn how to dress professionally, even if I can't afford to do it much.

I can do this. I WILL do this. I have to do this.

Projects Old & New

Well, I finished something this past week. A scarf, more specifically, that I hadn't thought was even serious enough to list on the sidebar. A few stitches here, a few rows there. Next thing you know, it's done!



And since I now had those needles free, I may have cast on for a sweater.



I also started adding in rows of the darker yarn into PSS Prime, and so far so good. It's hard to tell which rows are which when I'm staring right at it, so I figure it'll work just fine once I'm actually done with it. Hooray for nearly-the-same colorways!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taking Stock

I am going to be 27 in a few weeks. That’s creeping up on 30, I live alone with two cats, am getting divorced, have a small mountain of debt, and work in a library.

I feel like this is the part of my life where I’m supposed to be figuring out what I want to DO WITH MY LIFE, and starting on that.

Only thing is, I ain’t got no damn clue what I want to do!

I like to knit, and paint, and draw, and build things. I’m good with numbers and graphs and money. I’m not so good at fashion, I don’t think I want kids, and I’m a staunchly pro-choice liberal feminist. I like people, but they annoy the shit out of me too. I’m pro-union. I like to cook, but I’m not very good at it. I’m not any good at being “professional”, and prefer to work in smaller businesses despite the fact that I currently work for a subset of the gub’mint.

I’ve thought about doing social work, but I don’t particularly want to devote my life to something that emotionally draining. I’d like to do something that helped women. I don’t want to change diapers. I want to be creating a positive change in the world, even if it’s a really really small one. I’d like to travel and make friends.

What should I do with my life?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Winter is Coming

Well, after all of the Yarnharlot's talk about mittens, and the actually CHILLY weather that we've been having all week, I've decided that Texas just might go ahead and get cold again this year, so I should probably be prepared. I already have my handspun socks ready and waiting to warm my feet when I get home, and my frilly green Beetons that I made last winter (when it snowed! It actually snowed!), and Galveston does double duty as a lacy silk scarf, so I figure it's time to perhaps actually make myself a damn hat (I think we all know how that's likely to turn out - how is it that I've made so many hats and STILL don't own one?).

So tonight I'm going to pull out my DPNs, and some sock yarn, and start making a hat that will be TOO GOOD for me to give away. I'm thinking colorwork, and fingering weight yarn in squishy, lovely colors. I'm not sure what all else will be involved, but I know I want a damn hat already, so it's time to suit up and get to work.

In PSS news, I've decided to knit on, working in the slightly-differently-colored yarn as I go so that hopefully the color difference won't be too noticeable. If that fails, I think I'm going to have to hire someone to dye it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Testing? Testing?

So, it was brought to my attention that my archives did not work. And since Blogger had upgraded their template formats, it wasn't going to work. Ergo, I had to change my template. What do folks think? I'm not quite happy with it myself.

In other news, Ripley has been really, really affectionate today, and I'm worried that she's going into an early heat. She's just about four months old (counting her birthday as May 14th, 6 weeks before the day I took her home), so it's possible. She goes to the vet this weekend.

And speaking of this weekend, I had been going to go out of town and see Gamerboy, a friend of mine who has recently become something a little more than that, but my car, she is not well. I turned the ignition, it started, and when I looked in the rear view mirror to see if I was clear to back up, I saw that there was a bunch of white smoke coming from the back of the car. Of course, I turned it off right away, and when I went to investigate I couldn't tell if it was coming from beneath the ass-end of the car or from the exhaust or what, but it smelled like burning rubber.

Clearly, no long trips for me.

I'm going to have my friend Danny look at it, since he's quite good with cars, but this has me worried. I hope it can be fixed, and cheaply. I certainly can't afford a new car, or even to make payments on a new used one. If I was able to get a good amount for the car, maybe I could afford a small vespa-like scooter?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Warhammer 40k

Well, folks, I did it. I bit the bullet. I started playing Warhammer 40k.

Over the years this blog has been the home to my knitting and life stories, and frankly, I don't want to mess with that. So, I've decided to keep my 40k stuff elsewhere, since I know that the Feminism/Knitting/Nerdy/Gaming/Wargaming crowds do not really overlap as much as I might hope.

So if you're interested in reading up about my Ork armies, go check out Memory's Orks.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Not Enough Yarn for PSS Prime!

Well, I did the math today, and I definitely don't have enough yarn for my Persian Star Shawl, or at least not all in one skein. If you'll recall, I'm using a cone that's 2200 yards of cashmere from Colourmart UK, in an undyed fawn color. I do have another cone in a slightly darker fawn, but it is definitely a different color.

Right now, I'm just over 50% finished, at 90800 stitches, and there are 83968 stitches to go. I weighed my cone (3.4 oz), my shawl (4.0 oz), and the full cone (7.6 oz), and then checked the website to see how much of the cone weight was actual yarn (5.29).

That means I have a little over an ounce left, and need three more to finish. Obviously isn't going to happen, and I'm more than a little miffed at myself - in fact, it would be fair to say that I'm pretty fucking pissed at myself for not swatching more carefully, not getting a second cone, and blithely assuming that since Galveston (knit on 4s) used around 2200 yards, that of course I would be able to knit PSS with that same amount, on 2s.

I am clearly a moron.

So, I'm debating on what to do now. I'm coming up to an area where I could possibly do intarsia, big chunks of it. Does that work in lace? Is that a stupid damn idea? Should I really divvy up my remaining ounce into one-eighth balls, do the same with my darker fawn cone, and go to town that way? Or should I go dig out the cashmere yarn from that Old Navy sweater I recycled a couple of years back, whose color matches fairly exactly but which is an entirely different yarn? They seem really similar, enough that were they I given samples I couldn't tell them apart. I want to not have to do any extra weaving in, but I'm worried the intarsia option would be both insanely complicated (I'm not very good at intarsia - in fact, I suck), and the only way to get a consistent drape through the whole project.

This is going to take some major thought.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

No More Naughty Curry?

Today I found out that my very favorite cooking website, Naughty Curry, has finally lapsed into oblivion. They had stopped updating a while back, but as the archives (and more importantly, the recipe list!) was still up, I didn't think to copy the lovely, spicy morsels of information into my own recipe box.

Today I went to look up their recipe for Madras Shrimp, thinking to make the sauce and serve it over some chicken and rice for a houseguest I've got this weekend, and horror of horrors! The website was finally gone.

So after a little light flickr-stalking I hopped on over to the Wayback Machine, and lo and behold! The Madras Shrimp recipe was mine once more.

So after lunch today, with the continued aid of the Internet Archive, I will be spending my evening copying over every recipe of theirs I can into my personal recipe boxes, into Google Docs, and saving them as word files on my computer to boot. I urge you all to do the same. These recipes are too good to be allowed to float off mindlessly into the ether. So go, please, and cook up something spicy for someone you love.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Heed is Well

It was the food change. He's got pills and liquid medicines to take for a week, and if that doesn't work then he goes back to the vet. My savings account is empty again (thank god I had even slightly filled it), and payday is at the end of next week. Bring on the ramen, and the half-price hot dogs! I'm living poor in style.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Poor Heed!

So Heed threw up this morning. Normally this wouldn't worry me, as he has the occasional hairball, and I did just change his food yesterday, but last week I noticed some blood in his poop. It was bright red, and thin, and there wasn't a lot of it, but enough for me to notice (to be fair, I noticed because he actually shit on the *side* of the litterbox - my boy doesn't always realize when he squats down that his butt is sticking over the side).

Again, I've been changing the food fairly often lately, trying to find something that's good for him AND the kitten, that's fairly natural, and high quality. He loves the hell out of the Purina Naturals food, but I really like the Solid Gold brand stuff, their dog food made a huge difference with Maggie, even though she stank to high heaven for a few months when she first got on it. BUT, the food changes could cause constipation or puking, or any number of weird stomach-y things.

So, blood poop + vomit = vet visit. First thing in the morning. I'm super paranoid, even though it's entirely possible that nothing is wrong. I made the mistake of googling "cat rectal bleeding", which is like going on WebMD when you have a funny shaped freckle, because everything you read tells you it's cancer. I know it's likely nothing serious. But I'm freaking the fuck out.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Holy Fuckbunnies

So, Mr. Ex and I work for the same company, on the same floor, and his new boss is my old boss. Boss-lady asked me, when Mr. Ex and I separated, if I would have a problem still working on the same floor as him, and of course I said no, because I don't.

Most mornings, he comes and says hi by my desk, which is going pretty out of his way, and he tells me about the things going on in his life and asks about the things going on in mine. Some things I tell him, some things I don't, but I thought we were working on the whole being friends thing. I haven't even been rushing on the divorce paperwork, because I've been waiting on him to close out the joint banking account that's got all his money in it - until that's closed, I can't file the papers, and I've been telling him since May to please close that account.

Today he came by and told me that he's resigning from his job. I had no idea he was going to do this, and he didn't talk to me about it beforehand. He doesn't have a new job lined up yet, though he says he has a number of prospects he's looking at. He says it makes him uncomfortable to work around me, and he's been having stress enough that he's puking blood again, and all sorts of other horrible things. His family is going to help support him until he finds a new job, and if he hasn't found one by the time his lease is up next May, he'll be moving back in with them.

I am freaking the fuck out.

Part of me is certain that folks around the office are going to blame me for his going. I never had a problem working with him, I never had a problem seeing him around or even hanging out with him socially.

Now I'm freaking out, I'm asking him to close the joint account TODAY, I'm getting myself off his lease TODAY, I'm filling out all of the paperwork TODAY, because I can't afford to let his decisions (whether I agree with them or not) fuck up my finances. I can't do it. I have two kitties to support, and Heed is not exactly a light eater.

So today, I get the ball rolling on actually divorcing Mr. Ex. I'm more than a little nervous, especially given how much of my stuff is still at his house, but I know I need to do this and I need to do it NOW. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Old Heave-Ho

Today, I rant about cleaning my apartment. I need to clean my apartment, in general. Once I've got it all done, I'd like to make it more homey, and maybe post pictures.

I need to get some shelving for the living room, and put that up. I need to get my other bookshelves from Mr. Ex's place, and go through boxes there and fill those bookshelves. I need to sort the kitchen and get all the dishes put away at the same time, as many as I can fit, and find a new home for the ones that I don't have the space for. I need to clean out the fridge.

I think I want to paint, but I don't want the hassle, and I don't want to have to redo it later. Still, light green walls would make the place seem much more welcoming. Part of me wants to do a mural, but I would have to paint over it when I moved.

I need to re-organize the yarn cabinets, so that I can fit all of my stash, yarn AND fiber, into one place. Either that, or I need to put up shelves in the bedroom as well, for fiber.

I need to get a better system for feeding the cats in place. Their bowls worked well when it was just Heed, but now that Ripley is a growing girl, I think I need to get one of those larger bowls with the food reservoir, in case I don't notice right away that she's inhaled her body weight in kibble once again.

But life is good. I'm glad that I have these nesting urges, because it means that I'm liking where I am, and wanting to stay here for a good long while. And that's certainly true - I want to set up part of the living room as my spinning nook, and part of it as my reading nook, and maybe actually plug in the television that my dad was kind enough to give me.

So today, I think I shall invest in a hammer and some nails. Or drywall screws. You know, whatever works.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Holy Crap, Even More Spinning!

Well, I spun up most of the Roger Caruso from FatCatKnits that I've had for a good long while, and as a reward I let myself buy 4oz of merino/tencel from Fiber Optic in the Black Coffee colorway (I figure if I only let myself buy fiber when I finish spinning something from the stash, I will eventually work my way through the whole thing, especially if I buy 4oz for every 8oz I spin). I also picked up a trio of new bobbins, since all my smaller ones are full of things that require another bobbin to ply on, and I still want to be able to have multiple projects going on at once.

So I got my Black Coffee roving in, and put on a leader, and started spinning on the Babe. Result: Fiber too fine. It wants to be spun cobweb-weight, with plenty of twist, and the Babe just isn't built for that.

Ergo, I turned to my old standard: make something. One small block of stamp rubber and a piece of wire coat hanger later, and I had a tiny takhli spindle just ready to go! This is going to be a crazy long-term project, but I figure if I keep it up at work and do it a little bit each day, I will eventually get it all done. I'm not going to stress about it, I have plenty of time to finish all the projects I want to do, and if I don't, then eventually I will be well-off enough to hire test-knitters and then I can just whip out patterns and watch the projects parade before me :)

Ha! Oh, sometimes I crack myself up.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Spinning, Spinning, and More Spinning!

After finishing up the sock yarn I talked about in my last post, I went hunting in the cabinet to see what I should work on next. I found some merino/bamboo (also by FatCatKnits, in the Roger Caruso colorway) that I'd started spinning up laceweight, so I popped that back on the wheel and got going. Today has been a lovely day of old Star Trek reruns, cat petting, and spinning. Life is good.

In other news, Ripley has decided to help me spin.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Spinning, Socks, and Socialization

Lately I've been spinning more. I got in a 5oz piece of roving from Fat Cat Knits (75% SW merino, 25% nylon), and it's the first thing I've actually finished spinning in quite some time. It's refreshing to remember that hey, I really would have free bobbins, if I just finished spinning what's on them now. I spun this up as a sock yarn, chain plied it, and last night gave it a good soak and let it set the twist of the yarn. Today, I'm starting on the first sock, and I have no idea at this point what it's going to be like.

I'm also about halfway done with the Nudibranch that I owe Hastur from years and years back, which once I started actually working on has been going really fast. In between these two projects, I've been working on PSS Prime, but not nearly as much as I should be.

In other news, I have become completely hooked by Plants vs Zombies. If you have not tried this game, go try it. Right now. I got it from popcap games, and it's amazing. You'll thank me for this later - it's almost as addictive as knitting.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Boring, Boring Person

I am the queen of all boring people, ever. This past week my little brother came to stay with me, and our days have been filled with Warcraft, petting kittens (still working on taming Ripley properly), and watching bad monster movies. I got some spinning done for Tour de Fleece, but honestly, I'm not even close to spinning every day, much less for a set time every day. The roving I'm spinning up is Monica by FatCatKnits, a one-off roving used to pick up the last of the colors from the dyepot. It's pale and colorful and interesting, and I'm hoping it'll spin up nicely into some sock yarn.

One thing I did do this past week, was find a spinning wheel for a friend of mine! I have my google reader set to let me know when anyone in Aggieland, Houston or Austin puts up a wheel for sale on Craigslist, and this week I found an Ashford Traditional for $200! I emailed the seller to see if it was still available (it was), and my friend Megan to see if she was still looking for a wheel (she was), and since she's out of the state right now, if she wanted me to drive up to Austin and pick it up for her (she did). So, long story short, she deposited the money into my paypal account, and I drove and got my friend a wheel :) It came with a lazy kate and 4 bobbins, so I'm pretty excited about it. She's a fairly new spinner, but she's definitely got the touch, her singles are already fine and even and lovely, and I'm so happy that she's going to have her first wheel.

So yeah, aside from that, my week has been pretty uneventful. Me and Ripley napped in the sunshine by the windows, with Heed sleeping on my knees as per usual, and it was nice. But for now, I think I'll get back to spinning, and see if I can't finish up that sock yarn!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bring Out Your WIPs!

So, the moving process has been an interesting one for me. Yes, yes, I know, I should already count as moved because I'm actually living here in the new Casa del PenName and have been for a while, but I am still bringing stuff over from Mr. Ex's house, so bear with me.

I have found so many works in progress, just by moving my stash over. The most recent, which I am working on right now, is a sock knit up in Cherry Tree Hill's overdyed Louet Gems yarn, with a picot hemmed cuff and what was a half-finished twined-knit heel, which I have since completed and turned.

So, yeah, other than those two small points, this is a completely plain, stockinette sock, which I don't think I've done often. No stripes, no holding yarns together, just a stockinette sock with pooling stripes, and an interesting heel that I'm hoping will hold together well. I went up a needle size (1 from 0) for the heel, to keep gauge, and I'm about to pick up the stitches for the gusset. I considered trying to go and dig out the second ball of this from within one of my big boxes o' stash, but eh. I'll work on this one in the traditional manner - get one done, get second sock syndrome, eventually find first sock again and think why didn't I ever finish these?

You know. The usual.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Halfway Dance!

Whohoo, I'm 50% finished with the Persian Star Shawl! It's an awesome feeling.

I didn't think, this past January, that PSS would take so long. I figured, yeah, I took the better part of a year on Galveston, but really, I slacked on it so much, surely I can knock out a completed shawl in four months or so.

Hahahahahaha. Hahahahahahaaha. Hahahahahahahaha.

*Wipes away tear* Yeah, that's a good one.

So I started this in January, January 20th to be exact, and that was almost 7 months ago. I'm not sure if that date was when I cast on the first stitches, or when I started sketching it out, but that's the date I put into Ravelry. So far, the PSS has been with me on the Rav February Meet-Up in Austin, has been with me while we planned our trip to Iran, and when that trip was canceled. It has been with me while Mr. Ex and I went our separate ways, and has been with me as I build my new life. The shawl has seen many changes, both in its design and in my life while I designed it.

May the next 50% be entirely less eventful.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Holy Crap, Christmas?

Someone mentioned today on Ravelry that she's already working on her christmas presents for her family - now, while she has plenty of time, instead of later, when she'll be swamped with fall schoolwork, holiday preparations, and all sorts of dreary weather.

Damned if that doesn't sound like a good idea, right?

Last year I think I went a little overboard on the whole OMG I CAN MAKE THE SOAPS idea, and honestly there was a lot of trial and error involved, but folks did seem to like them.

So tonight I'm going to clean the apartment but good, and then Wednesday I think I'll go by Mr. Ex's place and pick up all my soapmaking supplies (yes, they are still over there, as are a lot of things). I think I'll focus more on one or two good recipes this year, fancy, luxe stuff, with stronger scents. The one comment I got a lot last year, was that none of my soaps had a really strong scent.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Keep On Keeping On

Well, not a whole lot going on in Case del PenName. Ripley is adorable, she is putting on weight nicely and may almost be up to 2 pounds now, which means soon she'll be able to actually get her vaccines, and I found out that microchipping is $10 at the local shelter, so I'm definitely going to get that done as soon as she gets her rabies shot and county tags.

I'm in a new D&D game, it's 4th ed, which I had resisted for a long time. It's a very mini-centric system, to the point where it feels more like a minis combat game that had RP tacked on, rather than an RP game that worked out a system for combat. It doesn't feel like those old games I played in school, me and my friend and a hastily-drawn notebook of maps that were to be used only when I was figuring out a puzzle or getting lost in a maze. I still remember when my second character ever, an elven thief, died because she pushed a statue over that caused a chain-reaction of collapsing stonework. I was SO upset, because my friend told me that unfortunately, I could never use that character again, because now she was dead. It didn't matter that I had written up a lovely backstory. It didn't matter that she was the character I had wanted to play from the beginning, she had died, and that was that. (yeah, it was middle school, okay? Drama happens)

But this new game seems fun. I'm playing a rogue, again, though a halfling this time. She's not your typical merry agile trickster type thief, she's your slightly dim burly thug :) A halfling so butch, she's sometimes mistaken for a dwarf!

So, yeah. I'm having fun. I've been watching the original seasons of Star Trek, and it's really interesting to see how the gender dynamics play out. I'm pretty sure none of the ladies on the Enterprise could possibly be in Engineering, not because of lack of ability, but because honey, those uniforms were NOT built for bending over, much less climbing machinery. It really makes me want to start a Star Trek campaign, if only to play a Kaylee-esqe grease monkey... in space!

Friday, June 26, 2009

40% Mark!

Whohooo! As of this afternoon, I have hit 40% on Persian Star Prime!

It's a good feeling.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Organizing

I spent most of today organizing things in my new apartment - more specifically, the yarn stash. I took pictures, wound and re-wound balls, and updated my Ravelry stash as I filled the yarn cabinets from the boxes and bags that've been sitting in my bedroom for the past few weeks.

I found a bunch of unfinished projects, but I know I haven't found all of them. I put some aside to finish, and some aside to frog, and all in all I think I have less than a dozen projects left on the needles right now, mostly scarves. I don't know why I keep starting scarves, since they take forever and I never finish them, but I've got at least 6 scarves in my WIP pile, most less than a quarter done.

Irish Miss is no longer missing, which is nice, as it's also the project that's farthest along of all my works in progress. It's about half done, if I stop at 36", but I have enough yarn left that I could probably make it twice as long. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do with the rest of the yarn for it, either continue and make a very long, very lovely cabled scarf, or use the rest for something lacier, perhaps another Anya or Emma or some totally different new design.

Persian Star Prime is about 37% done, which is pretty awesome. I'm 25 rows into the last chart, so I have 103 rows left (and, of course, the edging) to do, and then I'm done. I worry still about running out of yarn, but there's not much I can do for it at this point. I'm trying to make myself do at least two rows a day, at which rate I'll be done by the time September hits, which would be nice. 6 months isn't a horrible length of time for a shawl this size, from start to finish and writing up all the charts. It's half the time Galveston took, though of course I finished the second half of the knitting on Galveston Prime in the two months before my wedding.

Ah well. It's still the fastest shawl I've knit to date, out of all two of them, and that's not too bad. Once I get a television, I'll have something to occupy my brain while I knit, and that should make things go a lot faster.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Introducing: Ripley



The kitten from the last post's name is Ripley. This was decided (after some debate - she was provisionally named Seek for a while, because Heed and Seek is hilarious) after she snuggled into my shirt, and then popped her head out chestburster-style multiple times over the same evening.

I got her via one of the shadier methods of kitten acquisition - a dude on the side of the road holding up a sign that said "Free Kittens". I had already been looking at kittens from local rescues, one in particular who was very sweet and reminded me a lot of Cricket, but I just didn't feel that instant connection with her, so I decided to wait. When I saw the free kittens dude, I pulled over, thought I'd go check it out (it never hurts to look, right?) and this was the last one left.

According to the Kitten Dude, she was the runt of the litter, as well as the one with the shortest hair (she will likely be a medium-hair), and is 8 weeks old. According to the vet (and yes, I took her to the vet right away, I am a responsible pet mom) she's closer to 6 weeks old, but since she's eating solid food and using the litter box, I don't have to worry about her being so young. She does not have any kind of Crazy Death Plague, which I will admit I worried about A LOT, and has been cleared to interact with Heed.

Heed, of course, loves her. He loves everyone, especially small things that he can bat at and groom. He swishes his tail for her to pounce on, sniffs the litter box when she's done using it, and makes sure everything is properly covered. He's a very paternal cat. He doesn't even chase her off the bed at night, though sometimes I do, because she's very active right around the time that I like to be sleeping. Hopefully that will settle down once she's older.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Someone Needs a Name



Total impulse kitten-getting. Driving down the road, saw a dude with a 'Free Kittens' sign, she was the last one left. Runt of the litter. Snuggled into my shirt, and I felt that jolt of yes, this is my kitten.

She's got a vet visit this afternoon, and will be fixed next time I'm in Austin.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Oh, That Maggie

Okay, so Mr. Ex went out of town last night, and isn't going to be back until late Sunday, so I volunteered to take Maggie for the weekend (I do loves my Maggie). So yesterday I drive over to his place, calling in some pizza for dinner to pick up on the way home, and collect her and Heed.

Now, I hadn't intended to take Heed home quite yet, I wanted to give it another week just to be sure that he doesn't get exposed to what Loki had, but I had actually talked to his vet and he's been vaccinated against the virus I was worrying about. Still, to be sure I had wanted to wait.

But I got there, and he was crying for me, and I just couldn't leave him again. I've been Heedless for two months now. So I picked him up, sans carrier, sans litter box, sans any of the kitty-related accouterments you generally need, and took him home.

I put him and Maggie in the house, made sure Maggie's food and water were full (I had bought the same kind of food for Grue that Maggie eats, so that's handy), opened Heed up a can of wet food and put it where Maggie couldn't get to it, and headed out to go get me a litter box with the store credit I got for returning Grue's crate.

So. I get that, easy no problem. Decide that Heed's an older boy now, he needs the special Senior Cat Please Don't Die fancy cat food. Pick up pizza on the way home.

When I get home, I discover that Maggie has NOT touched her food at all, or thankfully, Heed's, but she HAS found the box of treats I was going to send home with Mr. Ex, and she has eaten the ENTIRE BOX. ALL OF THEM. OVER A POUND OF TREATS.

Little shit.

Anyway, so I get the litter box set up in my room, realize that I forgot to get the baby gate from Mr. Ex's house, so I put up some flattened cardboard boxes hoping it'll deter her at least a little. Seems to work okay, so I go to bed.

So in the middle of the night, I wake up to VERY loud thumpy music. I'm on the second floor, and it sounds like it's coming from downstairs. For some reason it feels like 5 a.m., so I figure hell, I'll just get up, go walk the dog, get ready for work.

It is in fact 2:30 in the morning. Oh HELL no.

So I go downstairs, and the music is coming from a car. Dude is packing up some things, I don't know if he's coming or going but I don't much care. I go downstairs and politely explain that I'm on some medication that makes it really hard for me to get to sleep, and would he mind not having his music up so loud between midnight and 7 in the morning? He apologizes profusely, and turns it down. I try to go back to sleep.

Then this morning, of course I overslept, but I walked Maggie before work, got Heed shut up in the bedroom so Maggie doesn't get into the litter box, and since I am late, drive instead of walk so I can get there on time. Everything is great.

Now let me tell you about lunchtime.

I walked back to the house during lunch, forgetting that I had the car, and not only would it be faster to drive it home, but I could leave it there and save money on the parking garage. I forget this entirely, until I am halfway there and it would no longer be faster to drive.

So I get home. I let Heed out of the bedroom since he's been cooped up all day, and I take Maggie out for a walk. It takes her a while, but she pees, so we head back upstairs, and discover that Heed's had a hairball on the kitchen floor.

I'm cleaning up the mess, when Maggie runs into the bedroom and eats the rest of Heed's wet food. Mind you, she's had her dry food available all day.

So I get her out of the bedroom, put Heed back up, wash my hands, and grab some cold pizza to eat on the way back to work. As I'm about to head out the door, I find another hairball.

So I put down the pizza, go clean up the hairball, and call and tell work that I'm probably going to be late getting back in. When I put down the phone, I see that Maggie has eaten my pizza. And I'm still late.

So I check the house for any other surprises, find none, and leave. It's usually a 20-30 minute walk for me, depending on how hot it is and how much energy I have, and I already know I'm going to be late and have to stay longer at work because of it, so I don't stress. I made it back, only 5 minutes late. All in all, pretty good time.

UPDATE: When I got home, Maggie was THRILLED to see me. You know that thing that dogs do when they're guilty about knocking over the entire trash can and eating most of its contents? Yeah, she doesn't do that. She just wants to give you kisses.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Weekend, and New Socks

It is the weekend, hooray!

This has been a hell of a week, but I feel now like I'm finally settling down into my new life, and that's good. A friend of mine is coming up with her son (my godson!) for his fourth birthday party, and we're going to hang out all day and have fun.

The day I took Grue back to her foster mom, I came home after hours and hours in the car and needed to unwind. I picked up Persian Star Prime, but I just wasn't feeling lace right then - too much brain work. So I grabbed the square DPNs I got last time I was in Austin, and some sock yarn, of course, that I got to test out the new needles (Cascade Heritage Paints, in the Feathers colorway) and started making a toe. I haven't done socks in... months. Since the Bayerische socks, which remain half-finished in a box in my bedroom, waiting for me to rip the heels out yet again so I can reknit them in the right size. That was around christmas, wasn't it?

So I started on these socks. And I'm doing a garter stitch short row toe, because that's my usual fallback, and for some reason the garter ridges reminded me of this stitch pattern I'd seen on the bus one day, I'm thinking on someone's scarf? I wrote it down in my Idea Book (I love my idea book) thinking to make a hat of it, but you know, that would make a pretty sweet sock pattern too. So I did the math, and hey, what do you know, my usual 80-stitch sock just so happens to fit the pattern perfectly!

So I've been working on those, and I'll probably post the pattern up when I finish them. A simple, textured sock, for some near-mindless comfort knitting.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Dizzy, Dizzy, Dizzy!

Okay, so remember how I told you that the prozac was giving me some side effects? Well, the worst ones are of course the depressive episodes and suicidal thoughts (none since Monday, yay me), but the most annoying are the very light sleeping, and the vertigo.

So, Tuesday I went and saw the doctor, and she told me to take two of my pills until my current supply is empty, then to get the doubled prescription filled so I can take one twice-as-large pill. So, okay, I took my second pill that day when I got home, and two each morning since then.

Now, yesterday I did drive Grue back to her foster mom. Hastur came by and helped me load Grue into her crate (two person job, I tell you) and by 10 a.m. I was on the road. I dropped the dog off, then had lunch with some friends who live in the area, hung out with them for a little while to recover from the massive drive, then made my way home again. I got home at 9 p.m., tired, eyesore from concentrating on the road, and certain in my bones that I should not make a huge trip like that in one go until I get this vertigo thing beat but good.

Today the feeling of vertigo is worse, much worse. Worse enough that I'm feeling it with my eyes open, sitting at my desk at work, and I'm swaying a bit in my chair. I am so, so glad that I did my driving yesterday, because I do not feel that I would be safe on the road today. It's like the feeling you get standing somewhere high up and looking down, where you lose your sense of balance and feel like you're falling even though you haven't moved. I have that, sitting down, wide awake (though tired, I slept only lightly again last night), with my eyes open and my feet planted firmly on the floor.

I do not think this prozac is great for me. Eventually, I will have to drive again, if only to get groceries or go to the laundromat or visit family during the holidays. I can't afford to sway like this on the road, it's like being drunk only without all the pleasant actual drunkness or tasty margarita flavor. I'm hoping these side effects go away soon, or at least get back to their previous levels. I'm going to keep a record of them, and if they persist until, say... the 15th? I'm going to call my doctor again. I know these things take time, and I want to give my brain that time to adjust, but this is not a good sensation.

In more happy news, since I don't feel up to working on Persian Star Prime while effectively high, I started some socks. I had picked up the yarn and needles (those nifty square DPNs) up at the Knitting Nest in Austin last weekend, and last night it occurred to me that the stitch pattern I'd jotted down in my idea book (was it from a scarf someone was wearing on the bus? I don't recall) would make a pretty nifty sock. So I cast on for a garter stitch short row toe, my perennial favorite, and this afternoon I hope to get into the actual patterned portion of the foot. It's ribbing based, but interesting, and I think it'll complement the dark blue colorway I got nicely.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Overwhelmed

Well, I know my last blog post seemed very rosy, but I have decided that Grue is not the dog for me. I know, I know, it hasn't been very long since I got her. I know this.

When I said she was not socialized as well as I had expected, I was only beginning to see her personality. She is afraid of men, of bikes, of people with beards, of blondes, and of loud noises and fast movements. She is not laid back like I thought she would be - in fact, she's quite active, more active than I can handle. She isn't housebroken, she isn't actually used to being inside at all - I spoke with her foster mom some more, and as it turns out she is used to being kept outside in a kennel all day, every day.

People, I am many things, but incredibly active is not one of them. I do not have a yard at the new place - hell, it's a one bedroom apartment, and I work 8 hours a day. I do not have the energy that this dog will need, to be trained properly and become a good indoor dog.

Grue loves being outside. LOVES it. Wants to spend all day out there - and coincidentally, doesn't want to pee just because she happens to be outside. I'm not going to have enough time in my morning to get myself ready for work AND spend over an hour walking her, and hoping that at some point she pees.

Another thing, and this is hard for me to say, but I am just not as ready to have a dog again as I thought I was. When I caught her chewing on my spinning wheel, I called her Maggie without thinking, and cried for an hour. I cried most of yesterday, actually, but at least some of that is because of the prozac (which, by the way, I saw the doctor today and she decided to double my dose and see if that fixes the side effects I've been having; I have a follow up appointment next month), and I know now that getting a dog was me looking for love more than me being in a good place to take in another animal.

It's still not easy being in my brain, knowing that some of the things I'm thinking are the product of weird chemistry and not really me. I've been having more suicidal thoughts, but (don't fret!) not the kind that are in any way serious. I know this doesn't make much sense if you haven't experienced it, but these are the kinds of suicidal thoughts where once I realize what I'm thinking, my first reaction is That's not normal, I should mark that down on my calendar and talk to the doctor, not Hmm, gas or rope? like it was before I started the brain drugs.

So, tomorrow I drive out to return Grue to the rescue wherefrom I got her. She will be happy to see her foster mom again, and she will be with her sister and brother again, and she will get to be outside all day like she wants to be. Hopefully, someone with a yard and lots of time and energy will see her, and love her like she deserves, and give her a home that will be better for her. She is not a bad dog. She is a very sweet dog. But she is not the dog for me.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grue!

Today I went and got my new dog, Grue.

More specifically, on Friday I went out to Austin to see K-the-knitter and Mr. K, stayed with them until this morning, when I drove out to Seguin to meet up with Grue's foster mom. Seguin is roughly the midpoint between Aggieland and the city I adopted Grue from, and her foster mom was very kind to meet me there.

Well, the first thing I noticed is that she's a bit bigger than I was expecting - more like a 35 lb dog than a 20 lb dog, though honestly that's okay by me. She weighs around the same as Maggie, maybe a little lighter actually, but their personalities are very different.

Maggie is a very outgoing, friendly dog. If she sees you, she wants to go to you, and she wants you to pet her (quite a lot, please, and perhaps some belly rubs?). Her tail is always wagging, and she is always smiling.

Grue is (at least so far) a very anxious dog. Quite frankly, she's not as well socialized; though she's very sweet to people, her initial reaction to most things is fear and avoidance, then curiosity if it doesn't look like it's going to come after her. She's very quiet, I haven't heard her make a single sound yet (aside from one time, she burped), and all she really seems to want to do is lay down, not too far from people, preferably on the couch once she realized she was allowed to get up there. She does not like her crate (it's a bit small, have to get a bigger one, I was expecting a smaller dog), but she has eaten and drunk and, eventually, peed on the grass outside. Granted, it took me carrying her down the stairs and twenty minutes of her sniffing and cowering every time a bird called or a car passed before she would pee, and another ten minutes of me coaxing her back up the stairs and into my apartment, but she did have a successful 'walk'.

Grue's mom said that she isn't 'used to a leash'. This seems really weird to me - were they not walking their rescue dogs? Who does that? She was content to stick close to me, which is good, that will teach her to walk next to me when she gets more confident, but I do wish she'd been exposed to more things as a puppy.

All in all, I'm still very happy with her. She is a super sweet dog, and not loud or hyper like I feared. Hastur and the Library Overlord came by to see her, as well as Mr. Friend-Ex (I figure that name will work as well as anything else? We really are remaining friends) and a buddy of his, and we all hung out and had fun and pizza. Grue even got a pepperoni or two, because I am not above shameless bribery. I took a bunch of pictures with my phone, but I'm too tired right now to upload and post them, so you get to wait.

Me, I've got a puppy to snuggle with.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Well, I got the keys to my new apartment on Friday. The Library Overlord helped me move over my bed, and a bunch of my kitchen equipment, and then later on my mom came into town and bought me groceries. Oh, so many, many groceries. Mostly it's stuff that's either dry, canned, or frozen, since I know there's only so much fresh stuff I'm going to eat right away, but it's been interesting. I made pancakes and bacon at 11 p.m., and last night dinner was a glass of lactose-free milk (did you know they make lactose-free milk? It's awesome, I can drink all I want without horrible gut pain), a banana, and one of those personal-sized microwaved chocolate cakes, which as it turns out are actually pretty good. Tonight I plan to make some sausage and lima bean dill rice. I make a mean lima bean dill rice, if I do say so myself.

The first night alone was not an easy one. I couldn't sleep, the light from the window and the computer screen was different than I was used to and I was thinking way too much. In the end I called some folks to talk, and that helped, and the next couple of nights were easier because of pancakes and moving exhaustion.

A friend of mine is moving soon, to a fully furnished grad student apartment in California, and so she called me up and asked if I wanted any of her stuff. Basically, anything that hadn't already been claimed and that I could haul away myself was fair game, so I got two futons (hooray seating!), a bookshelf, a microwave, a small cabinet/table thing, a bunch of sheets and towels and a whole lot of dishes. One of the futons I was able to put together myself last night, the other I hope to get done when I get home this afternoon.

Internet won't be working at my house until tomorrow, but by tomorrow evening it should be up and running. Mr. Sweetie (what should I call him now? Mr. Ex? Mr. Friend?) offered to come and help me put it together, which is nice of him. I should offer him dinner.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Fine Art of Pet Juggling

Well, if you read HasturTorres's blog, you may know already what's been going on these past couple of days. Hastur and the Library Overlord got a cat on Saturday, after lots of time and money spent trying to find one that would work with the Overlord's allergies. The cat, Loki, was the sweetest thing ever, but he had trouble breathing, so Hastur took him to the vet to be checked out, and testing revealed that the little guy was very ill, and the vet recommended the cat be put down.

Because of the nature of his illnesses (and I think I'm going to let Hastur decide how much of what information to release to the public, so please excuse my vagueness), Hastur and the Overlord agreed that it was the only option. They had to weigh the health of their adorable dachshund, whom they've had for years, against one very sweet, very sick kitty, who was not going to get better, and who could make other cats, dogs, and people very sick. It was a hard decision to make, but this morning I drove with her and we said goodbye to Loki.

I spoke with the vet about my own current situation, how I'm living with them now and was exposed to the cat, how I'd like to bring Heed and Grue to my new home, and what she thought the best plan of action would be. As it turns out, the illness that is able to pass to dogs is the easiest to remove from the environment, once the host is gone. Boiling water on the things he pooped on or near, steam clean the carpets and upholstery, wash all the clothes and bedding in hot water, and it's gone. As long as all that's done (and it's getting done tonight, the bedroom is already the Clean Room and the dachshund is safely locked away in there), I could pick up Grue tomorrow.

The unfortunate part is that the respiratory issue with Loki was airborn, and she said I can't Heed home for another 4 weeks. Mr. Sweetie did come and visit Loki briefly, so I've asked him to please watch Heed for signs of respiratory issues (beyond his usual sneezing) and let me know if he sees anything.

I had really wanted to move Heed in to my new home first, and let him get settled in before I brought in a new animal. But I can't live completely alone, I'm just not built for it. I need to hear breathing at night that isn't mine, know there's another warm body in the house whether it walks on two legs or four. So I am going to try and get Grue right away, and when it's finally safe bring Heed over.

Two more days. Two more days until I have a home again.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Well, folks, this is going to be a bit of a long post today, but it should usher in an era of shorter and more frequent posts, for reasons that will soon become evident. I know I've been largely MIA for about a month now, and the reason for that is...

Mr. Sweetie and I are separating.

First, the barrage of answers to the usual first barrage of questions: The details of what happened are between me and Mr. Sweetie, it's not anybody else's business. Yes, I am holding up okay. We are trying to remain friends. I have found a new place to live, and I move in next Friday. I have been sleeping on a friend's couch for almost a month now. Yes, I am still taking the prozac, and I plan to keep doing so for at least the next year (doctor just approved my longer prescription).

Heed of course is going to come with me to my new place - but Maggie will be staying with Mr. Sweetie. She is first and foremost his dog. She needs a stable environment with a loving daddy and a grassy yard to play in, and he needs his little piglet. Since I will have lots of time on my hands, and no longer want to live in a dog-free home, I will be getting one of my own - a one-year-old corgi/basset hound mix that I shall name Grue. I hope that she will be spunky enough to run Heed around, but laid back enough to chill on the couch with me while I play Warcraft. Since nobody expects the spanish inquisition major life changes, money is a little tight with me right now, so I've asked the dog rescue to please hold Grue for me until mid-June, when I'll have saved up enough for another pet deposit and her adoption fees.

Logistically, almost everything has already been worked out. I signed the lease for my new place last week, the security deposit has already been paid, and there is enough in Mr. Sweetie's account to cover my half of the rent on the old place for the remainder of the lease. Mr. Sweetie has agreed to hold my things until I can move them out, and has even offered to help me move the larger furniture, which is very considerate. I'll be within walking distance to work, which will be handy, because that way I'll be able to go home and walk Grue during my lunch hour.

I've been knitting a LOT lately. Like, have-to-make-myself-stop, tingly-sore-arms amounts of knitting. I've knit up to about 30% of the Persian Star Shawl, and written out the pattern for the entire thing. It's going to be a bit before it's PDF-ready, of course, since my actually-mine computer is still with Mr. Sweetie, and it may take some time before I can get internet at the new Casa del PenName. I can still post plenty from campus, though, so no worries there. I plan to put it up for sale via Ravelry once it's completely ready, and then start on probably another large lace shawl pattern.

I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands.

It's going to be weird living alone, I'm not going to kid myself about that. I've never lived entirely by myself, but in the end I think it will be a learning experience. I plan to cook more, which will of course require the number to poison control courage and creativity, but I think I can do it. I expect to be blogging a lot more, and playing a lot more Warcraft, and of course posting tons and tons of pictures of Heed and the new dog. Unfortunately, I can't have any alcohol now because of the prozac, so I won't be drowning my sorrows in anything stronger than a case of Dr. Pepper, no matter how much I might want to. I picked up Crazy Aunt Purl's book, "Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair", and let me tell you, she is one awesome lady.

So, yeah. That's me as of right now. Take care of yourselves, everyone. I'll be taking care of me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

End of Hiatus

Well, isn't it like me to announce my hiatus at the tail end of it? I am back. This are different in my life than they were a month ago, but all in all I think I'm on the upswing.

I started taking anti-depressant medication earlier this month, and I am feeling better now than I have in years. Seriously, just this one small thing has made a world of difference in me. I haven't had a depressive episode in over a week. I feel like I'm all here, and connected in a way that I can't really describe well. Before the meds, I felt like I "lived" in my eyes, and the rest of my body was a tool that I used to get around and do things. It wasn't even a tool that I really cared for much of the time. I knew the drugs were working when I looked at my hands one morning and thought me instead of mine. I wish I had done this a decade ago.

I've lost almost 10 lbs in the last few weeks, at first all in a rush, then I gained some back, then lost some again, but I think what I've lost now is healthy loss and not just being to crazy and stressed to eat. Hastur and the Library Overlord have been good friends to me, as shoulders to cry on and so much more, I know I can never repay their generosity but I'm determined to try.

This past weekend I went and saw Chilerox and 2MinutesToBelgium down in San Marcos, and Balthazar the spinning wheel (and my hand cards) found a new home. He is a lovely wheel, but my Babe and I have a history together that no other wheel can match. We went by Hill Country Weavers on Sunday, and I found some Habu cobweb-weight merino in a lovely rich hazelnut color, and some size 0 addi lace needles, which I've chosen to take as a sign. After Persian Star Prime is done, I may doodle around with some Orenburg lace.

In Persian Star Shawl news, as of today I'm four rows away from finishing Chart E, after which there is one more giant monster chart, and the edging. Don't let that optimistic sentence fool you, though, chugging through Chart E means I'm about 20% done with the entire shawl as a whole. If I finish it this week (and I should, but I also have a friendship bracelet to make for a swap, which has to come first) I will dry-block it and take a million pictures. It doesn't look anything like what I first imagined, but I do like how it is now. Funny how life can surprise you like that.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hiatus

I'm going on hiatus for a while.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rrrrrrip!

The other night, I ripped out 23 rows of the Persian Star Shawl. Almost 1500 stitches.



That's a dime I used for scale. I didn't have a quarter handy.



It damn near broke my heart to do it, but the chart as I had written it in that section just plain sucked. There was too much empty space, too strong of vertical elements (and I don't care for strong vertical elements in circular shawls - makes 'em look like wagon wheels), and the whole thing was repetitive and boring. I don't want my shawls to put people to sleep, and I know that Galveston suffers from enough of that. It had to go.

So that section, like all that have gone before it, has been re-sketched and re-charted. It's a wholly different beast than it was before, and now I am enamored of it. I start to worry, though, whether I should change the name of this shawl? Because honestly, it bears absolutely no resemblance now to that original ceiling tile. I mean, I definitely like the pattern as it's written so far, it's just a very different beast than it started out trying to be.

And yet, it will be star-shaped in the end. Or star-shaped inside a round shape, actually, but you get the idea. Either way, it's time for me to pick up my needles again. I want to see how this next section looks when it's finished.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Making an Honest-to-God Actual Website

That's what I've been doing lately, setting up a real, paid-for, domain-registered website.

Not for me, of course - or rather, not just for me.

See, my friends and I, we're gamers. I know I must have mentioned this once or twice or a million times, we are huge nerds and this is what we do. We have a game that's been running for over two years now (I remember the excitement of showing off my engagement ring while we sat down and prepared for the superhero game), and a game that is very recently started. We meet two nights a week, as a rule, though of course school and work and life make their intrusions. We have a set of forums that we've used for a couple of years for things like arranging gatherings, sharing funny stories and interesting news items, and incidental interaction (incidental meaning nothing you need dice for) between characters. It's a good system, and one that we like, but in the years that we've had it, the hosting site has often crashed for weeks at a time, leaving us with little recourse.

So I bought a website. And a year of hosting. As a lump, it was a little painful on the wallet, but it came down to less than $10 per person per year, for registering the domain, getting things set up, and all the hosting, and that's a hard deal to beat. I'm wanting to say it was something like $5/month for hosting?

I used JustHost.com, which offers unlimited space, unlimited bandwidth, and was very well reviewed. So far I haven't had it for terribly long, but I'm liking it. I set up new forums right off the bat, and Pitt Beau will be showing me how to move over all our previous posts in some kind of an easy manner, so that we don't lose our years and years of forum history. I set up subdomains and ftp accounts for everyone in the group, so that everyone has their own corner of the site to fuck with as they please, and nobody (danny) has to worry (danny) about anyone else (me) messing with their content (danny), even if only as a prank. Which, knowing our group, we would do in a heartbeat were it an option. I mean, hell, I would do it myself.

So now things are slowing down on that. I still need to make some html templates for me, and for folks who aren't terribly familiar with html, to use. I still need to set up some kind of a contact list that not-us people won't have access to, and perhaps a chat room, but that's all I can think of at the moment.

Perhaps at a later date I'll post a link to the site, but for now I think I'll leave it be. I want to see it grow into an awesome online encyclopedia of our games, because I am just arrogant enough to think that they're really something special, even in the wonderful world of gaming.

I mean, where else are you going to find an ex-government-experiment ward of the state superhero whose power is that she talks to rats, and can locate objects or people through her "cheese sense"? That level of awesome doesn't just grown on trees, you know.

Monday, March 09, 2009

100 Best Novels?

So, random house put out a list of the 100 best novels of the past whatever period of time. They had a list compiled from libraries, and a list compiled by patrons (L. Ron Hubbard and Ayn Rand are all up in the top 10 of the reader's list, so clearly something fishy went on with the voting but whatever).

This got me thinking. I read a lot - I mean, I read a lot - but I don't really consider myself "well read", largely because I read mostly science fiction, fantasy and horror. If I wanted to live under a slightly smaller cultural rock, reading every book on this list would be a pretty good way to go about it, I figure. Reading every book on both lists might end with me clawing my eyes out, mostly because I've got no respect for Hubbard or Rand, but it might still be worth it only so that I could bitch more effectively.

So if you take out the duplicates and sort them alphabetically, this is the list you get:

1984 by George Orwell
A BEND IN THE RIVER by V.S. Naipaul
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) by Anthony Powell
A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
A HANDFUL OF DUST by Evelyn Waugh
A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA by Richard Hughes
A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS by V.S. Naipaul
A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster
A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce
A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving
A ROOM WITH A VIEW by E.M. Forster
A TOWN LIKE ALICE by Nevil Shute
ABSALOM, ABSALOM! by William Faulkner
ALL THE KING'S MEN by Robert Penn Warren
AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner
ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
ANTHEM by Ayn Rand
APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA by John O'Hara
ARROWSMITH by Sinclair Lewis
AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS by Flann O'Brien
AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS by H.P. Lovecraft
ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand
BATTLEFIELD EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard
BELOVED by Toni Morrison
BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy
BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
CATCH-22
CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller
CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY by Robert Heinlein
DARKNESS AT NOON by Arthur Koestler
DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather
DELIVERANCE by James Dickey
DOUBLE STAR by Robert Heinlein
DUNE by Frank Herbert
ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card
FARENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury
FEAR by L. Ron Hubbard
FIFTH BUSINESS by Robertson Davies
FINNEGANS WAKE by James Joyce
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY by James Jones
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin
GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
GRAVITY'S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon
GREENMANTLE by Charles de Lint
GUILTY PLEASURES by Laurell K. Hamilton
HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
HENDERSON THE RAIN KING by Saul Bellow
HOWARDS END by E.M. Forster
I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
ILLUSIONS by Richard Bach
INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
IRONWEED by William Kennedy
IT by Stephen King
KIM by Rudyard Kipling
LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
LORD JIM by Joseph Conrad
LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
LOVING by Henry Green
MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis
MEMORY AND DREAM by Charles de Lint
MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie
MISSION EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard
MOONHEART by Charles de Lint
MULENGRO by Charles de Lint
MY ANTONIA by Willa Cather
MYTHAGO WOOD by Robert Holdstock
NAKED LUNCH by William S. Burroughs
NATIVE SON by Richard Wright
NOSTROMO by Joseph Conrad
OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute
ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST by Ken Kesey
ONE LONELY NIGHT by Mickey Spillane
PALE FIRE by Vladimir Nabokov
PARADE'S END by Ford Madox Ford
POINT COUNTER POINT by Aldous Huxley
PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT by Philip Roth
RAGTIME by E.L. Doctorow
SCOOP by Evelyn Waugh
SHANE by Jack Schaefer
SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser
SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
SOMEPLACE TO BE FLYING by Charles de Lint
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES by Ray Bradbury
SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION by Ken Kesey
SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence
SOPHIE'S CHOICE by William Styron
STARSHIP TROOPERS by Robert Heinlein
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Robert Heinlein
SUTTREE by Cormac McCarthy
TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald
THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH by Saul Bellow
THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton
THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET by Lawrence Durell
THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James
THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY by Thornton Wilder
THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
THE CUNNING MAN by Robertson Davies
THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West
THE DEATH OF THE HEART by Elizabeth Bowen
THE DOOR INTO SUMMER by Robert Heinlein
THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN by John Fowles
THE GINGER MAN by J.P. Donleavy
THE GOLDEN BOWL by Henry James
THE GOOD SOLDIER by Ford Madox Ford
THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson
THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Graham Greene
THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams
THE HOUSE OF MIRTH by Edith Wharton
THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER by Tom Clancy
THE LITTLE COUNTRY by Charles de Lint
THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien
THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington
THE MAGUS by John Fowles
THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett
THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS by Robert Heinlein
THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy
THE NAKED AND THE DEAD by Norman Mailer
THE OLD WIVES' TALE by Arnold Bennett
THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE by James M. Cain
THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark
THE PUPPET MASTERS by Robert Heinlein
THE RAINBOW by D.H. Lawrence
THE RECOGNITIONS by William Gaddis
THE SATANIC VERSES by Salman Rushdie
THE SECRET AGENT by Joseph Conrad
THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
THE STAND by Stephen King
THE STUDS LONIGAN TRILOGY by James T. Farrell
THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
THE WAPSHOT CHRONICLES by John Cheever
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH by Samuel Butler
THE WINGS OF THE DOVE by Henry James
THE WOOD WIFE by Terri Windling
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP by John Irving
THE WORM OUROBOROS by E.R. Eddison
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
TOBACCO ROAD by Erskine Caldwell
TRADER by Charles de Lint
TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
TRUSTEE FROM THE TOOLROOM by Nevil Shute
U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos
ULYSSES by James Joyce
UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch
UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
V. by Thomas Pynchon
WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams
WE THE LIVING by Ayn Rand
WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys
WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson
WISE BLOOD by Flannery O'Connor
WOMEN IN LOVE by D.H. Lawrence
YARROW by Charles de Lint
ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE by Robert Pirsig
ZULEIKA DOBSON by Max Beerbohm


It's a lot. But I think I can do it. I might even shoot for doing it all in one or two years.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Pasta Pasta Pasta!

So, a few days back I tried making some potato gnocchi - and let us politely say that it failed.

Like, hardcore fail.

So tonight, I'm going to try making ravioli instead. I have a shiny new pasta roller, and a kitchen full of ingredients. I'm going to try and make a spinach and feta set, a mushroom cheesy set, and depending on how much of the boiled crawfish I'm eating for lunch escape my belly, I might even try a delicious crawfish-based filling.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Persian Star Shawl 9% Done!




And to clarify, this is my diagram. It is not a random bulls eye of doom.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Kebab 2.0 (now with pics!)

The last time I made kebab, I followed my aunt's recipe and things were good. Not as good as hers, but certainly not bad, and we ate it and were content.

Tonight, I made kebab again, with a couple revisions to my aunt's recipe. I love it! It's a more Mediterranean version, again featuring mint, because we still can't get Sumac anywhere in town. Tomorrow I'm going to make a cucumber yogurt sauce to go with it, but that's another blog post.

I wanted to make a smaller batch as well as a leaner one, so I cut it down to 3 lbs of meat instead of 5, and one onion. Here's the recipe I used:

3lbs ground meat
1 large onion, pureed
2 tbs each turmeric, salt, spearmint
3 large bullion cubes (ran out of beef, used chicken instead, everything was fine)
3 eggs

For my meats, I used two pounds of 90/10 ground sirloin, and one pound of 73/27 ground beef. I wanted there to be SOME fat to stick it all together, which was good. 3 eggs and it was still much less stick-to-itself-y than the previous batch.



First I made a slurry with my spices and the eggs



Then I pureed my onion, and added it to my spices.



Then the meats! Mix your meats in good. The sirloin was much more tender than the ground beef, so it didn't need nearly as much mixing.



Then onto the foreman grill it went! I used big spoonfulls, about meatball sized.



Operation: Less Fat was a total success. Instead of having to empty the fat tray every go, I only had to empty it twice for the entire batch.



Kebab 2.0 was a total success!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

PPN's Anal Adventures

Horrible name for a blog post, right? Nothing good can come from a name like that. Well, yes and no.

I haven't mentioned it much here (if at all), but I'd been having some trouble with rectal bleeding off and on for the past... two years or so, and recently I actually got the balls to go see a doctor about it. No big thing, I figured. I'm not dead, so I must be fine.

The doctor felt a "nodule" when he did the Dreaded Finger Test (and let me tell you, I can now definitively say that anal sex is not for me), so he took some blood and suggested I see a specialist, which I did.

The specialist said that he wasn't too concerned about the rectal bleeding, since it was off-and-on and I wasn't dead, but the blood tests had shown that I'm anemic (yes, this was right before I got Balthazar), so I should get an upper-GI endoscopy, and a colonoscopy.

Yikes! I was terrified of this. I have never had a major medical procedure done, and never been under serious sedation. I don't even drink to excess.


Well folks, I went and had my double-team endoscopy and colonoscopy yesterday, and it sure was something. I was super-terrified of the whole concept, but my nurse was really nice, and the IV wasn’t terrible, and she let me knit until the doctor came in and it was Go Time.

At 3:35 she put the drugs in my IV (dopamine and something else), which made my head go all tingly, and asked me to roll on my side, and the other nurse had me bite down on this thing they put in my mouth (to keep it open). I closed my eyes…

…and Mr. Sweetie was petting my hair and asking me to wake up. The rest of this is a mix of what I remember doing, and what I’m told I did. Evidently I was astounded by the fact that I was wearing pants now - did the nurse put on my pants? Did the doctor put on my pants? Did Mr. Sweetie put on my pants (yes, he did). Apparently I asked him this a lot, as well as what time it was.

Then we were driving home, and I was hungry, and suggested we call two of our friends (Saint Pit Bull and Pit Beau) to come eat with us. I called them, got asked to hold for just a second, and hung up on them. Then Mr. Sweetie had a great suggestion - we should call our friends to come eat with us! I thought that was fabulous. And hey, since we were going out to eat, we should call our friends to come meet us! This went on the entire car trip, through the bank, to the restaurant, and up until the moment our friends stepped in the door. Then, hey! Our friends are here! You guys should come eat with us!

I ordered something to eat (evidently I ordered Tilapia because, and I quote, ‘catfish can kiss my ass’), and got up to go to the bathroom like 5 or 6 times before the food got there, then fell asleep at the table. Sometimes I would wake up and ask what time it was, or be amazed again that I was wearing pants. Mr. Sweetie boxed up my meal, and took me home, where my new drum carder was waiting in front of our door.

He put me to bed, where I slept until 6 this morning. I remember waking him up at like 4 to ask if my drum carder had ever come in, and he said yes, it had, and please stop waking him up to ask that…. so I must have done that a couple times.

I asked him this morning what the doc had said about my tests, and evidently he had answered this question like a dozen times already: I had a 3mm polyp, which they removed, yes that is the same size as the needles I’m using as the persian star shawl, yes he knows they let me knit with the IV in, yes he was the one who put my pants on me. I also had some hemorrhoids, which appear to have gone away, and I should eat a lot of fiber to make sure they don’t come back. The biopsy results have not come in yet, but the doctors will call when those are ready. Because of the polyp, I should get this done in another 5 years.

So that’s my story, bitches! I went in terrified, and it wasn’t horrible at all. I even finished the next section of the Persian Star Shawl, and I'm swatching the pomegranates on the way home.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Persian Star Shawl - Update



Guys, the Persian Star Shawl is turning out great. So far I've got it charted up to row 128, and knit up to row 32. I'm really quite excited, but the question now is do I release the pattern before I finish knitting it, or do I sit on it while I finish the actual shawl? I know I'd hate to buy something without a good photo of it, so probably I will sit on it until Persian Star Prime is done.

The section I was calling swirls, I've had to replace with rays, for the good of the design. It's not as true to the ceiling tiles as I would have liked, but it's turning into a better actual pattern for knitting so I don't mind that so much.

And in other news, I'm getting a DRUM CARDER! How awesome is that, right? I'm really excited about it, because I've wanted one for years and wasn't in a good enough financial setup to get one. I started getting me and Mr. Sweetie's finances in order after the wedding, though, and right now we are doing great. The carder started on its way to me last Monday, so it should be in by Saturday. I am going to be a carding fool!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Story of Balthazar

A long, long time ago I set up my google reader to let me know whenever the search terms "spinning wheel" got a hit on the craigstlists for Houston, Austin, and here. I've seen a lot of $300 wheels posted, and a few $200, and those I just skip over. A new wheel is like dessert - you want it, but you don't really need it. So I set myself a $100-150 budget on the off-chance that a good-looking wheel would happen to pop up for sale.

So last weekend, after I get back from some doctor-stuff (turns out I'm anemic, not a huge deal, seems to run in the family) I checked my google reader and hey - spinning wheel, $50, Houston! I emailed the seller and got a couple pictures. She said that the treadle worked, the wheel turned, and all the pieces seemed to be there.





The seller had said that this was her grandparents' wheel, and probably an antique, but she didn't know how old it was or what manufacture. I posted the pictures she had given me on Ravelry, and soon found out that it is a Canadian Production Wheel, which were made from the late 1800s into the 1940s. I was very excited.

So I ran by the bank, drove to Houston, and got me a new wheel. She was right, all the parts do work, the only thing that was missing was a drive band. He is a beautiful, beautiful wheel - but what an UGLY finish!



Well, I knew what I had to do. If this had been the original finish, I would have cleaned him up and could then have sold him for about a grand. HOLY CRAP, right? But from what I could see, he had been painted over in some orange color, and then had varnish applied over THAT, and THEN gotten covered in grime. So of course my best option was to refinish him.

It took two days and three bottles of refinisher to get down to the wood on all the pieces. There were some gouges on the underside of the base and under the metal treadle that needed to be repaired with wood filler, and most of the metal parts had been painted over as well, including paint in the screw holes and paint in parts that were supposed to be movable. I had to damn near fully dismantle the wheel in order to remove it all, but by god, I cleaned that wheel up good.











It was all worth it in the end, though. Balthazar the Canadian Production Wheel is happily restored and sitting in my living room.









Balthazar is definitely more of a diva than the Babe - as a double drive band wheel that only came with one bobbin, he has a ration of 12.5:1 and more take-up than I was really expecting. He's also much heavier than the Babe (wood heavier than pvc, who'd have thought), AND single treadle, so I end up having to treadle faster than I'm used to just to keep him going. It's a bit of a challenge right now, but when it works, we make the nicest, smoothest, thinnest singles I could ask for. And he LOVES woolen spinning! Go figure!

So I've been carding up some black shetland from Copper Moose, and some hand-dyed silk that ended up more red-pink in person than it had appeared on my monitor, and spinning an awesome, funky yarn that I'm privately calling Bubblegum Goth. My carding skills are not so great, but with a wheel that does so well with rolags, it's time to buckle down and learn. And I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Garden Adventure: 2009

So I want to grow things, now that I have a backyard. I thought about it long and hard, and these are the things that I would eat if I grew them.

- Onions
- Leeks
- Garlic (hell yes garlic)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Potatoes
- Spinach
- Ginger
- Fennel
- Zucchini
- Butternut squash
- Carrots
- Broccoli

I should read up and see if I can actually grow any of these things some time soon.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Wheel!

I got a new wheel on Craigslist - today I clean and finish him. Pictures soon :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Think I'm Ready?

Well guys, this past weekend the lace bug hit me HARD again. At first I thought I just wanted to knit some lace, so I cast on for a shawl or two, knit twenty rows or so, and realized that hey, this is not what I want to knit. It's like craving a favorite food, fixing yourself a plate, and realizing that that wasn't what you were craving at all.

I think I want to write another shawl.

I can already see it in my head, a little bit. I think I want to write up something that's either a pi shawl or a square shawl that has * radial lines instead of four. Not an octagonal shawl - I'm seeing either a round edge or large points. Maybe points done in-pattern and then filled in with a background mesh to make it round. Not sure yet.

I'm really digging on this awesome persian tile ceiling I found on Flickr, and if I can, I'm going to reproduce at least what I see as the most prominent design elements. I'm not sure if it's possible, but I've got to try, right?

So, yeah, this one is going to be a lot more work than Galveston, and I can tell that from the get-go. I know that I don't want visible lines of increase, like I used in Galveston and as have been used to great effect in many other shawls. I'm not sure if I should start going about things math-first or string-first, but I do have a couple of sketches down already.

The nice thing is, I'll only have to chart out one-eight of the actual shawl, right? And then get real friendly with some graph paper. I'm not usually very good at intuiting curves on a graph-like surface, so this will be interesting.

If it ends up well, I might put it up for actual sale. Galveston will always be free, but I've been thinking lately that I would like to get some sort of pattern portfolio going, and this would be a nice start. What do you guys think?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

OMG I love kebab

We made 5 lbs of kebab, as per FavAunt's instructions, though we did end up cooking it on a George Foreman grill instead of outside on the propane one, and we added 3 tbs of dried spearmint to the mixture (and it was excellent, added just the right flavor to complement the onion-y goodness). We all of us age kebab until we were stuffed, and there were still over 2lbs of leftovers.

There were a number of awesome moments - like when LibraryOverlord saw exactly how much onion was going into this giant mass of meat, and when Mr. Sweetie was talking about 'onion goggles' that keep folks from crying, and I laughed at the very concept... until I was mixing the onion in, crying hardcore. And of course we watched some Frisky Dingo, so that was good times.

And for those of you who want a more cleaned-up recipe, here you go:

5 lbs ground beef (75/25 worked, yours can be leaner if you want)($10?)
2 large onions, pureed ($1-2?)
2 tbs tumeric
2 tbs salt
3 cubes Knorr beef bullion (Knorr bullions are the giant soft rectangles, your amounts may be different with other types)($1)
3 eggs
3 tbs dried spearmint

First, add all your spices and the eggs into the bowl. Add the meat in 1 or 2 pound increments, mixing it all in very well as you go. It will be very, very cold at first, and make you go 'GAH!!!' and not want to mix it, but suck it up. When all your meat is mixed up well, start adding onion in increments of half-onions at a time. You will cry at this point.

When all your ingredients are in the pot, just keep mixing. It gets warmer with time, and easier, and you can form the giant meat-lump into fun shapes, like the MeatBoob, the MeatMountain, the Curiously Phallic MeatLog, and others. When the fat warms up it will spread out and kind of turn the meat lighter in shade - mine was also quite yellow, from the turmeric, but I was fairly certain this was the "turning white" phase my Aunt was talking about. Either way, it was delicious, so just bash the shit out of your meat until you really can't stand to do it any more.

We formed our kebab into 2 1/2" patties and grilled them for 8 minutes, flipping them halfway through to get those attractive grill lines. HOLY CRAP, we lost about a pound of fat off the patties when we grilled them, so you know, you can definitely go for a leaner cut if that's what you're wanting. Maybe toss another egg in there to bind it if you go really super lean?

But yeah, we have kebab aplenty, and I am no longer afraid of cooking with raw meat. This was one of the most fun dishes I've done, and when I make some cucumber sauce tomorrow to go with the leftovers, it's definitely going to hold us for a couple of days. And cheap! Maybe this whole cooking thing is going to work out after all.