Monday, March 31, 2008

The Lumpy

I tried to make a smoothie for breakfast this morning, but I burned out the motor on my blender, so I had a lumpy instead. Lumpy was not as unappetizing as he looks. In fact, he was pretty tasty. I made a version of Crazy Aunt Purl's smoothie recipe.
My recipe was:
about 1/2 cup kefir
1 packet vanilla whey protein powder
1 large banana
1/2 package frozen strawberries
I left out the flax oil because, ew! I know it's good for you , but I don't want oil in my smoothies, thanks. And I skipped the psyllium husks because my poor intestines had enough fiber in the banana and strawberries, they didn't need anything else to contend with. (Crohn's is great if you have the taste buds of a 5 year old. If you have a slightly more complicated palate it's a bit of a drag.)
I'd never had kefir before, and that was interesting. Do you know what kefir is? Fermented goat's milk! Sounds delish, huh? I did some research, and kefir can also be made from cow's milk. I'll have to take a look at the bottle and see if it says what kind of milk it is. I was surprised at how thick it is- it basically looked like a slightly runny yogurt. Between the protein powder and the banana, which was mashed up by the blender before it crapped out, I couldn't really tell what the kefir tastes like. Maybe I'll try a little bit by itself, just to see.
It was a pretty good breakfast- tasty and quick to make. But I was starving by eleven, so next time I'll be sure to bring a snack.
In the mean time, does anyone have a recommendation for a really good blender?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday blah, blah, blah

I tried to watch last week's episode of Dexter on my Tivo this morning and discovered a problem. Apparently, something earlier in the evening ran long, which delayed the show before it, which means that I only got the first 10 minutes or so of the episode. Boo! This is the second time something has gone wrong with recording Dexter. I think my Tivo just doesn't like it. So I went to my Netflix account to put season 1 in my Q, and discovered it's available to play instantly on my computer. Yay! It takes so little to make me happy.

They weren't kidding when they said that grocery prices were going up. Have you seen the price of a can of Campbell's soup lately? $1.50 a can at the Kroger down the street! Geeze Louise. I picked up a couple of cans of store brand chicken noodle at HEB for $.54 instead. I was complaining about it to my mom last night, and she said that she gets Campbell's anyway, because the chicken in the store brand stuff is low-quality and there's not much of it. Can I tell you a secret? I don't like the chicken chunks in canned chicken soup anyway.

I finally filed my taxes this afternoon. Yay! I'm not getting much back, but it will just about pay for a new chair. I want to ditch the hand-me-down couch I've been dragging around for five or six years now and get one of those "butt and a half" size chairs with a giant ottoman. And then I want to put a couple of bookshelves in the extra space that used to be taken up by the couch. I need the storage space. The current bookshelf in the living room is going to collapse any minute under the overload, and I need someplace to put my knitting patterns, projects, and some of the yarn. I spotted a chair and ottoman for cheap at Big Lots yesterday, but I wasn't sold on that particular chair. So I'm going to wait until the refund comes and keep looking.

Speaking of Big Lots, I'd heard that they had yarn, so I went looking. Most of it was "muppet" yarn. They had some Lion Brand Magic Stripes, but I didn't like the colorway, and it looked like there were some problems with the dying- blotches and such- so I passed. They had 1 skein of something by Caron that looked interesting, but one was not enough to do anything with, so again I passed. Bummer.

Dinner tonight? Canned chicken soup and homemade bread. Yum!

I wasn't particularly hungry this afternoon, so I decided to skip lunch. And then I remembered I have to eat to take my meds. Otherwise, they'll make me sick. Can I tell you another secret? Sometimes I really hate Crohn's.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Things

Today I'm making a list of things that make me happy, because lists are the topic of the month at NaBlPoMo and I've hardly used them. Also, because I could use the cheering up. So here are some things that make me happy, in no particular order:

  • Patons Shetland Chunky yarn
  • the Caldwell Banker commercials with the talking portraits
  • Trouble the Wonder Cat
  • new posts from Crazy Aunt Purl
  • new posts from Jenny Crusie
  • homemade bread
  • pilates class
  • blogging
  • long weekends- only 8 more weeks until the next one!
  • quiet weekends at the beach- only 10 more weeks until the next one!
  • finishing a project
  • tempura roll and Philadelphia roll
  • talking to Mom
  • comments- I'm really quite silly about these
  • a clean apartment- because it's so rare
  • cooking in my crock pot
  • working in the office by myself- no one to hassle me! lots of surfing opportunities!
  • Ravelry- more free patterns than I could ever hope to knit. But I'll certainly try!
  • making my critique partners laugh
  • how excited my friends and family get when I give them something I've knitted
  • Cynthia and Dr. Madriz- it's nice to have medical professionals that I actually like
  • plants (3!) that I haven't managed to kill (yet)
  • watching my savings account balance grow
  • being 2 months away from paying off my car loan
  • having so many things to be happy about

Well, I feel better now! How about you?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"If I had a million dollars"

"I'd buy you a monkey.
Haven't you always wanted a monkey?"

Recently I've been reading a book about a woman who inherits fifty million dollars. I haven't finished it yet, but so far she's decided not to quit her two jobs or move out of her crappy apartment. That's not what I would do.

If I ever inherited fifty million dollars (which is unlikely, because if you added together all the assets of all of my relatives, we wouldn't come anywhere near fifty million) the first thing I'd do is quit my job. It's not a bad job, but do you know any one who wakes up in the morning, yearning to push paperwork? Yeah, didn't think so. I'd buy myself a house on a beach somewhere. Then I'd go on a long vacation at Disney World. And I'd stay in the special suite in Cinderella's castle.

What else would I do? I'd hire a personal trainer to come work out with me four or five days a week. And I'd hire someone to come clean my beach house. So that takes care of the unpleasant stuff.

I'd pick a room and fill it with all the yarn it could hold. And I'd spend my days knitting whatever I wanted. I'd keep a massage therapist on retainer to help treat the inevitable carpal tunnel syndrome. I already have a great massage therapist, so that part would be easy.

Until I win the lottery or some rich relative I've never met drops dead and leaves me all their money, I guess I'll just have to keep on keeping on. Knitting in the evenings and on the weekends. Cleaning my own place. (Or not, to be honest.) Getting up in the morning and dragging my sorry butt to work, whether I feel like it or not. I plan to sign up for a weekly pilates class tomorrow. That should help at least.

And don't worry. If I had a million dollars, I wouldn't really buy you a monkey.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I love my mom!

My mom is my best friend. This past year has been rough, medically and emotionally, and Mom's support is the reason I've gotten through. We talk pretty much every day, often twice a day. Yesterday I called her at lunch and then she called me back before bed. She had knee surgery about 6 weeks ago, and since then she's had some trouble sleeping. So when she called me last night, she'd already taken a Tylenol PM. I have never heard my mother so giggly! Before she called me she was watching a PBS production of Madame Butterfly, and you know how male opera singers are usually short and stocky? Well this one was really tall! And not stocky! And they had an interview with him during one of the breaks! And he was really tall! And looked nothing like the typical opera singer! Giggle, giggle! My mom cracks me up. Even when she's not looped on sleeping pills she's entertaining, but last night was funny.

I started on the Mary Jane Socks from the current Creative Knitting. They're coming together quickly, and look like they'll be cute when they're finished. Was anyone else pleasantly surprised by the number of patterns in this issue using Caron Simply Soft? Gotta love the affordable projects.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


My lovely three day weekend is coming to a close. It was everything I could have hoped for, although longer is always nice!

Friday I had a small repair done on my car- I swear I was at the dealership for less than 5 minutes! It was practically a miracle. And then on to the LYS where I spent the gift certificate I got for my birthday 4 months ago (I know, I don't know how I managed to hold on to it that long either) and another $25 bucks besides. I got a couple of addi turbos, and I love them! They're so smooth to knit with. I started the Sweet Baby Cap on them last night, and I'm almost finished. It's turned out really cute. I'll take a picture when it's done.

I also finished Jackie's blanket, which was why I was able to start the hat. And I finished a Baby Bib O' Love from Mason Dixon Knitting in a cute pink and purple colorway. Then I started a matching Baby Genius burp cloth. It was a busy knitting weekend.

I watched Enchanted last night. It was cute, but too sugary-sweet for me. The problem could have been my expectations. Bringing cartoon characters into the "real" world, I expected something sharper, maybe more ironic. But really it was just a live action cartoon. Tonight is Dan in Real Life, which I better start soon or I'll be up past my bed time.

And just for fun, here's a picture of the love of my life.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good News!

I just read an article on "the 10 deadliest FDA approved drugs." I'm on 2 of them. Faaaabulous. If I suddenly stop blogging, it's because I've dropped dead from my scary meds.

In other news, I started a really good book last night. It's called The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne. Really excellent. I poked around on the internet and discovered the sequel is scheduled for release in July. I know what I'll be doing that week.

I've now officially put on all the weight I lost last summer. That's hardly surprising, considering I lost that weight when my body stopped absorbing anything for about 6 weeks. It's a little depressing anyway. It was fun to fit into smaller sizes, and it was nice that my back didn't hurt, even when everything else did. I've been doing pilates with my trainer, and I really like it. It's hard, but it's also really relaxing. But working out once every two weeks isn't enough to do anything. Must work out tonight.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Itty Bitty Yarn

I have a sock problem. Specifically, I can't make them. At least, not out of sock yarn. I can swatch with the stuff, on the exact same needles that I later use to attempt socks. The swatch looks great. The socks look terrible. I can make slipper socks out of worsted weight yarn, and they look great. In fact, they're my favorite socks to wear around the house. But the faboo, stripey, sparkly, fiddly little sock yarn socks? Disaster. Maybe I should try them on 2 circs instead of dpns? We shall see.

In the mean time, I've come up with an idea for one of my forty-eleven balls of sock yarn- I'm making a baby hat. There's a pattern on Rav called the Sweet Baby Hat that is thoroughly adorable. And it looks like a quick knit, which is good because my cousin is going to be popping one out any day now and I keep frogging or getting bored with and discarding everything I try to make for her. I finished a cute little roll brimmed hat with a bow (from Last Minute Gifts), so maybe "hats" will be my theme. Aunt Linda (grandmother-to-be) made the family baby sweater, so I can't do that. My mom made a receiving blanket, so I can't do that. But I've already got the one hat made, and this one is adorable (and also I have the yarn), and there was another super cute winter hat in the December Creative Knitting which is currently buried under a ton and a half of tangled yarn on my couch (I think) so that gives me three hats. That's a good number. Maybe I'll crank out a couple of bibs or Baby Genius burp cloths from Mason-Dixon Knitting to round out the bizarre knitting grab bag that will be my baby gift to them. That works, right?

This is gonna be a mess. I can tell.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

There goes the budget

I went yarn shopping yesterday- something I hadn't done in a while. And by "a while" I mean a week or two. But this wasn't a quick run into Walmart to pick up four skeins for a specific project. I went to a LYS I'd never been to before just to check it out. It was huge. At least four times the size of the shop I usually go to. As I was browsing, I picked up a really pretty hank of yarn and checked the price. $95. Honest to god. These hands have touched a $95 hank of yarn. I put it down quickly and moved on.

The problem with a shop that size is that if you don't go in looking for something specific it's really hard to make a decision. There's just too much to choose from. After about 45 minutes I picked three skeins of sock yarn and boogied. Then I went to 2 Michael's and a Hobby Lobby, looking for Patons. I came out of the first Michael's with three skeins of Vanna White's yarn to make a Jayne Cobb for a friend. (There's probably enough there to make one for me, too.) I didn't buy anything at the Hobby Lobby. The only Patons they had was something froofy- Be Mine maybe? Something I had no need of, and I managed to restrain myself from buying more yarn for Project Linus blankets. I've got a dozen skeins of Caron in a variety of shades. Plenty to keep me busy. Then I bought a half dozen skeins of SWS at the second Michael's. And when I came home, I hopped online and bought a boatload of Shetland Chunky on sale and JoAnn's for $4 a skein and a couple of SWS in Natural Garden because apparently, no one in Houston carries that colorway. Altogether, it was about $200 worth of yarn. So no more purchases for me for a while.

I'm nearing the half way point on the blanket for Jackie. I'm not loving it any more than I was before, but it's going quickly at least. And I've started a faux-Noro scarf for myself out of SWS. I had some bits and pieces, and a couple of stray non-matching skeins, left over from last year's Christmas scarves, and decided to try it. Then of course, I had to buy more. I want a narrow (I cast on 27 stitches) scarf that reaches to my knees, with a few wraps around the neck. I started with scraps of Natural Navy and Natural Geranium, and once the Geranium ran out I changed to Natural Pink. Normally, I hate ribbing- I don't like the constant switching between knit and purl- and this is 1x1. But the rows are short, so I'm switching yarns pretty quickly, and the stripes changing colors keeps it interesting. My only concern is that I'm doing it on #9 needles, and it doesn't seem to have much drape. I'm only 4-6 inches in though, so maybe that will change as it gets longer. I'll try to remember to take a picture and post it later.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I joined NaBloPoMo this morning. (National Blog Posting Month- a rip off of National Novel Writing Month) The idea is to post every day for a month. It won't stick, but whatever. Maybe I'll remember to post a little more often.

I started another blanket- this one for the lady who was my mother's roommate in the hospital. They both had their knee replacements on the same day, and Jackie isn't doing too good. If I really work on it I might finish by the end of next weekend. I'm not in love with the yarn. In fact, when I first started I almost frogged it and returned the unused skeins, it was that bad. But now that I'm most of a skein in, and can look at it from a bit of distance, instead of stitch by stitch, it's not too terrible. I'm probably a lot more critical of my own work that anyone else would be, anyway.

The NaBloPoMo topic of the month is lists. So, a list of things I can see out my office window:

1. another office building
2. a cemetery
3. a post office
4. a veterinary clinic
5. a restaurant that keeps closing and reopening under new management (Two years ago when I first started working here it was an Italian restaurant, and it had a Statue of Liberty on the roof and half a taxi cab coming out one of the walls. Then for a while it was a Mexican restaurant and it had a mural of a guy wearing a sombrero with his mouth wide open eating a burger. Seriously wide- you could see his tonsils. Also, burger? I never got that either. The most recent owners took off or painted over all the weird crap, but they didn't last any longer than any of the others.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cursed Yarn

My mother thinks that my camo print yarn in jinxed. I think she might be right. I decided to give up on the shrug idea for a while- there just wasn't enough time to make it for when I wanted to wear it. So I searched the patterns on Ravelry and found the Rosie the Riveter kerchief: Perfect! Cute, relatively small, shouldn't take long to knit. I was half way through the bobble row on the headband when I realized I WAS PUTTING THE BOBBLES ON THE WRONG SIDE. Crap.

So I finished my blanket for Project Linus this weekend instead. And then I started another one in a different yarn and pattern. The Red Heart camo is glaring malevolently at me from the couch. I'm going to have to hide it in the bottom of my stash bucket. Or maybe donate it somewhere. Donating should break the curse, right? I wouldn't want to pass it on, or have it rub off on the other yarn in my stash.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Once more with feeling

I frogged the camo shrug again last night. It wasn't working, and I decided that it just wasn't worth all this effort. No more camo for me. I'd use the yarn to make a blanket for Project Linus. This is Texas- lots of people like hunting, and someone would love a camo blanket. And then I woke up this morning with a new idea on how to make the shrug work. So, I'm going to try one more time. If this doesn't work, it's blankie time. Really. I mean it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The yarn is winning

So, I'm going to a roller derby event? match? game? I don't know what you call them, but I'm going. The team I'm cheering for wears camo, and being a peacenik, I don't own any. So I thought, how hard can it be to knit up a little something? Famous last words. I bought a couple of skeins of Red Heart in a camo colorway. I found a shrug with a very open, cargo net looking stitch pattern. And I cast on. And frogged. And frogged. And frogged again.

You see, the original was made with a cashmere blend. Red Heart is no cashmere. I don't want it that close against my skin, thankyouverymuch. Also, the original was made by a skinny minnie, and I am no skinny minnie. So I've increased the size twice, and I think maybe I've finally got that right. I've also added a ribbed cuff. She started with a couple of rows of garter stitch, and I just don't like the look of garter stitch in variegated yarn, even for a couple of rows in a dark color where you're not really going to see it much anyway. I'm picky like that.

Then I managed to screw up the stitch pattern on the WS rows the first time I tried it. That's what I get for gabbing on the phone with my mother instead of paying attention to the knitting when I try something new. One of the times I frogged I switched from a 2x2 ribbing to 1x1, and I like that a lot better. The last time I frogged I managed to screw up the stitch pattern, ending up with the wrong number of stitches on my needle and dropping something in the vicinity of a yarn over. Riiiiiiip! This stitch pattern is particularly hard to unknit- at least I find it so- because it's all ssk, k2tog, or yo. I hope I don't make any noticeable mistakes once I get past the forearm (assuming I ever get that far), because going back to fix something will be a son of a bitch. At this early stage of the game it's easier just to start all over, especially with the kind of mistakes I've been making. Fortunately, the cabled headband is coming along much better.

But I still want that shrug!