Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Threepeat!

Whoo! Made it to the finish line! The posts got a little thin there towards the end, and I apologize for that. Some days the brain just cramps up, you know? But I did it! And now I'm going to go back to blogging haphazardly, but I will try to post at least three times a week. Let's see how long that lasts.

I can't imagine attempting National Novel Writing Month. I think there's an actual word count involved with that. No, thank-you. Well, maybe if I ever get serious about writing a novel, I might try it. Emphasis on might.

And now, back to work. I'm currently haunting the area where my part-timers pick up their work because I need to talk to one of them about something. As I type, I'm keeping an ear out for him.

Oop! There he is. Bye!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The news from my end of the swamp

The good news: I bought three Christmas gifts today at the mall.
The bad news: That's not even a drop in the bucket.
The sad news: By two in the afternoon I was back in PJs and on the couch.
The meh news: I go back to work tomorrow.
The welcome news: NaBloPoMo is over tomorrow. I'm getting sick of the sound of my own voice.

And that's about it from over here. How are you?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Post-Thanksgiving Pre-Christmas recharge

I've been sitting around with my brain off all weekend. Just chilling on the sofa with the cat and my knitting, watching movies and TV shows I've DVR'd and haven't been able to watch yet. So far I've watched: 2 episodes of Medium, Coco Before Chanel, Love's Labours Lost, a couple of weeks' worth of In Treatment, and Moonlight Mile. In an hour or so I'm going to do something I rarely do anymore--I'm going to watch Boardwalk Empire at its actual air time.

I took the day off tomorrow. I'm using it to start Christmas shopping. I have no ideas at the moment. I'm hoping something will leap out at me when I'm at the mall and declare itself for someone on my list. I'm also hoping the piped-in Christmas music doesn't drive me batty by noon.

I don't have a snapshot for today because I haven't so much as looked out the door since my parents drove away Friday morning. Not to mention that I'm not quite sure what I did with my camera. Can't find anything on the hard drive that looks good either.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recipe reviews

I made that Bob Andy Pie I mentioned a few days ago. After everyone called or texted in to say they made it home OK I sat down and had a slice. Boy is it good. It's a custard pie with a very thin layer of cinnamon on top and another on the bottom. I couldn't see how the cinnamon stayed on the bottom, considering that it floats so well, but I think I just now figured it out--you brush the crust with egg whites. The cinnamon probably sticks to that when the custard gets poured into the shell.

The three recipes I introduced for Thanksgiving were all greeted with general success. Mom and my sister really liked the corn with sage. After Mom took a bite, she told me that she'd been a little worried about the amount of sage in it, because sage can be so strong. You don't add that until the very end, though, so I guess the affect is minimal (or do I mean "effect?" I can't decide). She copied down the recipe before she left yesterday. Here it is, along with a few comments:

Sweet Corn with Sage

3 T butter or margarine
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 c.)
2 bags (12 oz each) frozen corn
1/4 c. half-and-half
2 T chopped fresh sage leaves
3/4 tsp salt [I used kosher salt]
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion and corn 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. [I wound up turning the heat up to medium high after melting the butter because it was taking forever for the corn to thaw out. I'd suggest thawing the corn ahead of time, and then maybe cooking the onion first before adding in the corn.]

Stir in remaining ingredients; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until flavors are blended. [Turn the heat down before adding the 1/2-and-1/2, or you'll have to add more]

I think this recipe's a keeper. And I thank my sister for finely chopping the onion. I don't chop things fine, and I said so. She heard me from the other room and offered to do it for me. I watched her, so I think I know how to do it now.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pie, anyone?

Apparently I fed my family so well yesterday that no one had room for dessert. They all wanted to go to a local waffle house for breakfast this morning, so my suggestion of pie for breakfast got rejected. I tried to get my Mom to take home the pumpkin pie, but she didn't think it would travel well.

So now I'm sitting here in houseful of food, two pies calling my name, and no one else to feed them to. Dear me. Someone's gonna be a whole lot fatter come Monday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am whipped. Combination of work, wine, L-tryptophan, and allergies. I'll write more tomorrow. I hope everyone is having/has had a great day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Extra post--the ranting edition

I am getting really mad at the radio right now. As I was drinking my coffee and trying to organize the day, John & Yoko's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" came on the radio. It didn't register for a moment, and then...what? Christmas music? It's not December! We haven't even gotten to Thanksgiving yet! Dammit, marketers, quit rushing Christmas!

And then I calmed down. This station is on a satellite feed until 6 am. Maybe once the DJs come on we'll get sensible music.

Nope. Ten minutes ago they played some schmaltzy pop-duet version of "Silver Bells." That's it. I'm going to iTunes, where I can control the play list.

Look, I get that the economy stinks, and that retailers are running in place waiting for Black Friday to get here to save them. I have to say, though, that the more they ram this "Christmas is coming! Buy! Buy! BUY!" crap down my throat, the more I want to give everyone homemade cookies, handmade soap and scarves I knit myself. Part of it is the mulishness that is me. I find that even if I'm half inclined to do something, if someone tries to push me into doing it I will balk just to prove I won't be pushed. This got me teased a lot in high school. I didn't dress "cool." I got teased for it. So I went out my way to not dress "cool." Screw them, I thought. Same with music. I liked classical music. In middle school someone found out about it, and passed the word around. I then refused to listen to anything but WFLN (which was Philly's classical station at the time) or WXPN (for The Thistle and Shamrock, or for their in-house folk program called The Unicorn).

But another part of it is that I'm really tired of all the tinsel and the sparkle and the plastic and the piped-in music. "Victorian" Christmas may be more picturesque, but I'm sick of that as well. That's just commercialism from 200 years ago. It looks more dignified because it's older, that's all.

I used to think of Halloween as the last firewall between Christmas and the rest of the calendar, but that's not true any more either. It's starting to bleed through. This year I saw a lot of Halloween and Christmas displays side by side.

Maybe I'm just grumpy because I'm tired. I don't know. I do know that I'm not ready for a month of Christmas carols, and now they're starting early! I want to smack someone.

I guess I'll go scrub the tub. I'm in a bad mood anyway.

Thanksgiving Eve

It's 5 am. I have a lot to do today. Sophie, for reasons known only to herself, is tearing around like a mad thing.

I'm going to spend 15 minutes with my nose in my coffee cup and then it's back to putting the finish touches on the house. My parents will call right before they leave home, at which point I will keep one eye on the parking lot, ready to chase off anyone who tries using my parking space. It's not likely to happen. The lot (the whole town, really) is pretty empty since the kids have a week's vacation around Thanksgiving. When I was a student (back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth), they only gave us Thursday and Friday.

The cat's last dose of eye medicine is this morning, and a good thing too. I think she's getting pretty tired of this.

All right. Breakfast time. Enjoy your day, folks!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Busy

The plan today: get some coffee in me, medicate the cat, then finish this house. Not much to blog about at the moment.

Here's another picture I pulled off my hard drive from 'way back:

Background: I was at a crafting day thing in a friend's basement, which she had made over as her workshop (jealous!). A bunch of other people were over as well, some that I'd never met before. One of the women made miniatures--for dollhouses, I think.

Aren't they amazing? I took a close-up of the cutting board to emphasize how very small these things are. That olive jar was pretty neat, too. I cannot for the life of me remember their creator's name. Maybe the Chief Loon knows--she was there too, and I think she knows these folks better than I do.

All right, that's enough fun. Time to go squirt ointment at the cat. Whee.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Countdown begins

It's Thanksgiving week! That means I'm furiously cleaning and stressing about my house in preparation for the feast on Turkey Day. The parents arrive on Tuesday evening, Wednesday is for shopping for the stuff I need to get and any prep work that needs doing. Ditter arrives Wednesday evening. And then it's Thanksgiving Day.

I think I'm ready. Sort of. Maybe. Well, no. I forgot to ask my Mom what time to expect them tomorrow. Same with my sister. Also, I need to rent a carpet cleaner. Though I may wimp out and use Resolve or something. The downstairs is still a bit untidy, same with my bedroom and I just now remembered I need to do sheets and towels. I think next year I'm going to ask Mom & Dad to come on Wednesday.

Actually, between that last paragraph and this one, I did call my Mom and ask them to come Wednesday. I think I can handle the shopping and prep work by myself this year. There are only four of us this time around so I don't feel quite as liable to burst into tears or flames at the thought of pulling this off. Turns out Wednesday would suit them better anyway. They can get a good night's sleep and leave in the morning instead of leaving after work and driving in the dark when they're tired. Good idea, me!

Now I need to give myself a stern talking to about not relaxing because I just got a little more time before company shows up. Must keep going at this pace (or a little faster) if I am to get done what I intend to. I really wish I could work at this pace all the time, but apparently I need the panic of a looming deadline to get the lead outta my keister. Sigh.

Well! Back to work! Fridge to clean! Junk to stash! Laundry to do!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snapshot Sunday #3

I went out really early this morning to get things at the grocery store. I wasn't thinking about the blog so I forgot to bring the camera. So instead I dug through the huge file of pictures I have on my hard drive to see if there's anything there worth showing.

Okay, here we go. I managed to grow tomatoes this year. I didn't get many of them, and that's partly my fault. I was weeding at one point this past spring, stepped back, lost my balance and fell splat! Right on the tomato. That set back growing time, though the plant did bounce back. Just in case I'd killed it I went out and bought another tomato plant, a Roma tomato (which is what I thought the first one had been, but it turned out it wasn't). A good thing too, since the first plant developed blossom end rot. Again. That's the same thing that happened the last time I tried to grow tomatoes.

The Roma was okay, though. I got some tomatoes off of that one, but there was some animal in the area that beat me to most of them. Here's the first one I managed to get to before whatever that critter was:

I did it!

The same weekend Mom taught me how to make jelly, we picked elderberries from the bushes down the road. Then she taught me to make a pie. Now that I've made a pie from fruit I picked myself, I think I'm going to stick to making them from fruit I pick out myself. Note to self: elderberries are a pain in the tuckus to stem.

Elderberry pie

Here's another picture of Sophie. She likes sleeping on towels. She also really, really likes my furry red bathrobe. It's sort of become her blankie now. Yes. She is that spoiled.

Sophie sleeping

And that's about it for now. Time to go check on the tomatoes. I froze a whole bunch of CSA tomatoes this past summer, and now I'm thawing them out to make soup of them. They're really easy to skin once they're frozen. Now I need to seed them.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Menu for Dad

My Dad just got all of his teeth removed in anticipation of getting dentures. The dentist removed them one-quarter at a time. He said if Dad wanted them all out at once he'd have to go to an oral surgeon. This probably has something to do with Dad being on blood-thinners. The last quarter just got pulled earlier this week, I think.

This presents an additional challenge for Thanksgiving this year. I'm trying to avoid serving chewy foods or anything with sharp pointy bits (the sweet potatoes have chopped pecans in them. I think instead of putting them on top of the casserole I'll put a little bowl of nuts on the table). And I think instead of the apple or cranberry thing I was going to do, I'm going to try this pie from Three Many Cooks (and I thank the Pioneer Woman that link. She's doing Pie Week this week, and she mentioned them). It's a cinnamon-flavored custard pie. No sharp or chewy things there.

I called Mom tonight to see what she's been feeding him, and to see if my ideas were right: I have oatmeal to serve for breakfasts, and I'm going to buy fruit and yogurt for smoothies for him. Dinner on Wednesday will probably be spaghetti. I definitely need to make that tomato soup. I think I'll do that tomorrow.

Friday, November 19, 2010

One for the wall

I found a photo hanging out on my hard drive that I really like. I took on campus a few years ago:

P1000387_edited-1

It's cropped from a larger picture. I like this one because it looks I got a lot closer to the rabbit than I really did. Pretty good, I think. Then I ran it through the watercolor filter on Adobe Elements:

P1000387_edited-2

Suddenly I want to take it to Kinko's and have them print it on watercolor paper, like I had them do for the picture of Pip that I then framed and gave to my Dad for his birthday. I know exactly where I want this to go, too. I'm pretty sure my bedroom wall color is in there among all those shades of green, and my walls are still bare. I think a big framed bunny will do quite nicely.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I don't have time for this

One of my part-timers took off on Tuesday because he was sick. He came in yesterday, and when I asked him if he was better he croaked, "Not much," as he grabbed his cart and headed for the stacks.

Well, apparently that brief contact was enough to make me come down with a sore throat and stuffy ears, dangnabbit. I cannot get sick. I don't have time. Argh!

Maybe if I stay home and take care of it instead of ignoring how I feel and going to work I can nip this right in the bud.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

T minus one week and counting

By this time next week I should be in my kitchen, unloading perishables into the fridge and prepping for The Big Day.

I am so not ready.

Also? Even though I really have enough on the menu, I sorta kinda want to make this as well as a pumpkin pie. I must be nuts. But it looks really, really good. Doesn't it? It'd have to be an "as well as" pie because my dad's blood thinner reacts badly to cranberries, and if I just did this one he'd have no dessert choices. Or maybe I could do this one, and no one would be excluded. I can always do the cranberry one later.

I should stop piddling around and get stuff done, is what I should do. Tonight's mission: find the kitchen table under all the junk. And clean the fridge. And maybe the freezer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brought down by a sleeve??

If you're not a knitter you might want to skip this post. It's full of jargon which I may or may not explain. Instead, why don't you go look at this for a while? His stuff is pretty cool.

The sleeve of this gansey is giving me more trouble than the whole rest of the sweater combined did. I have unknitted, recounted, reknitted, recounted, sworn, and unknitted again so many times I'm afraid my yarn's gonna break. I unknit rather than rip out (called "frogging" by those who use the lingo--for "rippit, rippit, rippit"--adorable, no?) because I can't guarantee finding all the stitches I need to put back on my needles when I get it down to the point where I want to start over.

It shows in the picture and the drawing that the pattern on the sleeve mimics the one on the body, and that it stops a few inches before the end. I'm supposed to go back to stockinette stitch for a while before I end with some ribbing at the wrist. She never says this in the instructions. If I follow the instructions the way they're written, I'd have pattern all the way to the ribbing. Since she doesn't say how many to make, I don't really trust the line drawing (it's written for all sizes), and the photo doesn't show the sleeve very well, I have arbitrarily come up with the number 10 for chevrons on the sleeve.

Also? When I finally decrease the stitches enough that I have as many as she wants me to before I change to smaller needles (she says to decrease 2 stitches every 5 rounds for the size I'm making), I have 1 3/4 more inches of sleeve than I should. I'm torn about how to fix this. I could either go back to the tenth chevron and decrease more often while doing the stockinette stitch or I could take it all the way back to the end of the underarm gusset and decrease 2 stitches every 4 rows, the way she instructs for the smallest size. I think I should probably do the latter. It would create a gentler line than the former, which might have this funky falling-off-too-quick look to it. But it means taking out an awful lot of what I've been doing for the past week and a half.

I realize that for a lot of you this all blahblahblah yarnspeke and I apologize for that. I'm thinking with my fingers, here, trying to set out in print what my options are for what to do next. Whatever I choose, sleeve number 2 should be a lot easier. I hope.

Oh, hey! For Marnilla, who wanted the pattern I'm using--I found out that for $5.50, Interweave press will let you download the Muted Musician Gansey pattern from their website. Click right here if you're interested. And good luck with the blasted sleeves!

Edited to add: I got tired of unknitting, so I'm only taking it back to the tenth chevron and then decreasing faster. I'll see how that looks before I decide to go aaaaaalllll the way back to the end of the gusset. That was a lot of work I don't really want to redo if I can avoid it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What's the opposite of cyberstalking?

For reasons I should probably talk to a trained therapist about, I go online and look up old boyfriends from time to time. It isn't because I want to keep in touch with them, or that I care about their well-being; I have no warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia about these men. I want to know where they are living because I want to stay well away from them. One of them is in North Carolina, and I don't think he'll be moving any time soon. The other one I haven't been able to find an online trace of at all.

Until today.

I wasn't sure at first that it was him. He has a very plain, common sort of name. There's no picture on the entry I found. There might be one that's suppressed until you join the site (reunion.com, I think), but I'm really not that keen to see him. I know his mother's name, though, and that was on this listing too. It also had the right age, the place where he grew up, and named a couple of the other places where I know he has lived.

I'm not going to describe the relationship except to say that I never want another one like it. He used to reside in New York City, moved there right after we graduated college. I have been abnormally paranoid about visiting that city for 20 years. I was convinced that even though the odds of it happening are incredibly long (how many people live there?), I'd run into him somewhere--that he'd walk right up to me and say hello. Sort of like When Harry Met Sally on crack, where instead of the story ending with a New Year's Eve declaration of undying love, I'd wind up arrested, with my face splashed across in the New York Times the next morning: "Tourist kicks ex-boyfriend to death at FAO Schwarz," the headline would read. Or something like that.

Are you remembering that BlogHer was in New York this summer? I was secretly afraid to leave the hotel. I was also secretly afraid that he worked for the hotel, and that they'd find his body stuffed in a laundry chute shortly after I checked out. But now, if I can believe this search I performed over my lunch break, visiting New York City is no longer a problem! I can go there every weekend if I want to. He's on the west coast now, living in a suburb of Seattle.

Damn. I wanted to see Seattle. I guess I'll have to wait until he moves again.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Snapshot Sunday #2

These aren't pictures taken with my camera, they're scanned. A long while back I took a drawing class through the arts center on campus. Our first project was to take some image out of the newspapers and sketch it. I chose an oxford shoe, and shocked myself when I found out I really can draw. I don't have a scanned image of that.

Not quite as far back, a blogger I used to be in contact with named Anna suggested we each do that same thing again and post our results. We shared our drawings with each other, but we didn't post the results on our blogs. I don't think she was happy with how hers turned out, and I didn't want to publish mine without her publishing hers.

Her blog has been inactive for years now. I think her life got very complicated and she didn't have the time or energy to both live it and then write about it.

So anyway, here's the picture I drew from. I can't remember what the ad was for, or what magazine I tore it out of:



















And here's what I did with it:




















And now I want to dig out my sketch book and draw again. Like I have time for that right now.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Feeding frenzy (Warning! Contains grumbling)

Today I went to Wegman's and bought most of the things on my "Buy Ahead" list for Thanksgiving. I got an almost 14 pound turkey for about $4, because I had a shopper's club card and bought at least $25 dollars worth of other stuff.

The whole store was crazy. It appears everyone picked this weekend to do the same thing I was doing, and probably for the same reason: the football team has an away game today. You can't get a thing done in this town on a home-game Saturday. The store added to the crowd by scattering Pilgrim-hatted employees around the place to hand out samples, coupons, sweepstakes entries. There were also random stockers with their big rigs parked right smack in the middle of aisles. Because it's imperative to get more fish sticks into aisle 7 at one o'clock on a Saturday afternoon, I assume.

People amaze me sometimes. This woman and her daughter pulled their cart right in front of the frozen turkeys, looked at them all without choosing one, and then just parked there. There were three more of us trying to get in and out. These two just hung out, oblivious. It reminded me of Jelly Man from a couple years back. One woman tried to squeeze past the daughter to get at the turkeys behind her, and that girl didn't budge an inch. She just kept staring at the cupcakes in her cart (because purple frosting is so hypnotic), completely unaware of anything else. And no, there were no earbuds to blame, pouring loud music into her head and obliterating all else. I checked. She was clueless all on her own.

After a couple of minutes of politely waiting for this pair to get their shit together, I gave up. Muttering "Excuse me," I pushed past the mother and started looking for a good turkey. She got out of my way (barely), but then stood blocking my exit. I so dearly wish I'd had the nerve to say, "Really? You have a whole bloody store to zone out in, you have to pick the turkey case? In mid-November???"

While I was trying to get round her another woman was trying to get in, giving me dirty looks because it looked like I was causing the hold-up. I shrugged and gestured over my shoulder to the living statues behind me. She glanced where I pointed, assessed the situation, nodded an apology at me, and transferred her stink-eye to them.

If this is what shopping for Thanksgiving is like, can you just imagine how Christmas will be?

But! I saved about $11 on my turkey! Silver lining!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Today's brief musing brought to you by...

...conjunctivitis and the differences in personality between Delilah and Sophie.

If Delilah had ever had pink-eye and required antibiotic ointment be applied right in the eyes three times a day, by the end of Day Two she would have been watching my every move. She would've hidden from me, run by me on her way from one end of the room to another, and treated me with suspicion no matter what I had been doing. She would have slept with one (infected) eye open. I would've been treated to long, deep scratch marks on my neck, chest, and probably my arms.

Sophie? Well, she has no front claws, but her back ones are still there; and her teeth work. She hasn't used either yet. She fusses when I put the stuff in, makes noises to tell me this is not her idea of a good time. She tries to get away by backing out from under my arm. Afterward she eats the cat treats I provide as a sort of apology/reward, she sulks for a moment, and then it's as if she shrugs and says, "Ah, whatever." Next thing I know she's looking up at me with her poor little greased eyes and saying, "You're my best friend. Even when you do crap like that. Can I come sit up there with you?"

Yes, Sophie, of course you can. And I promise I won't do that again for another eight hours or so.

Which unfortunately for one of us is right about now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Produce fatigue

The final pick-up for my CSA half share was last Friday. Thank heavens. I don't think I'm going to renew next year.

Don't get me wrong, this whole support-the-local-economy-while-eating-healthier thing is great. I cooked a lot of new things, like a spinach, onion, bacon, and chard quiche. I pickled beets. I did a lot of stir-frying. I made more pesto. I experimented with things that I thought might go together, with general success (a weird take on chili, for example -- chicken instead of beef, garlic, onion, greens instead of beans, a ton of spices, and egg noodles. Looked strange, tasted great). I have a ton of tomatoes in the freezer at the moment that I want to turn into tomato soup before my parents get here in two weeks. I'm seeing homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese as lunch for that Wednesday. If I can get around to it.

Problem is, I'm still not using everything I'm given before it goes bad. I didn't get a freezer this year like I thought I would--money was a little too tight--so I couldn't blanch and freeze things as much as I would have liked. Mom and I experimented with fava beans and failed. I'm up to my eyes in potatoes. Before I started freezing the tomatoes they were attracting fruit flies.

And the eggs! Dear Lord, the eggs. That was new this year. They started a co-op or a trade or something with some other farms, and now we get eggs every couple of weeks. I didn't realize how little use I have for them until I started to get so many. There was a three-carton pile-up in the fridge at one point this August. I mean, a girl can only eat so much egg salad before she starts to smell like a sulfur mine. I made that quiche, I baked a little bit, I scrambled a few, but the eggs just kept on coming faster than they were leaving. Eventually I just gave the new cartons away to my neighbor when I brought my share home. She tried to pay me for them. I had to assure her that she was doing me a favor by taking them off my hands.

I really don't have the money to shell out on something if I'm not going to be able to use all of it. And this year they didn't offer a discount for next year to renewing members. They haven't sent out an email about renewals at all, come to think of it.

I'll do this again in a few years, when finances are better and I have a little more cooking experience. And a chest freezer. Definitely need one of those.

I think what I'll do instead is go to the farmer's market every Friday next season and buy a smaller, more manageable amount of produce. Then I'll work with it over the weekends.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cat's eyes, pilot programs

Sophie's had something funky going on with her eyes, some sort of infection. I took her to the vet today to see what it is and what they can do about it. The vet says she has conjunctivitis. He gave me some ointment with erythromycin in it that I have to apply to her eyes three times daily for two weeks.

It's gonna be a fun two weeks, but her eyes will thank me for it when we're done. I have no idea how she caught this. Maybe it's leftover from being out in the Big Bad World before we met? I don't know. Delilah never had it.

That presentation I mentioned yesterday went really well. A lot of people were interested, which was a nice surprise. I was expecting screams of rage. We did get some people who didn't like the idea we had, but about 90% of the room agreed that now that we've seen whether this thing we're attempting can be done, it's time to test it out. That way we can decide whether it should be done. The task force is now going to design and run a pilot program with a few interested campuses. Part of me is excited. Part of me is saying, "Oh great, more work."

Favorite part of the whole day: calling the taxi to take me to the vet's. The dispatch operator asked how many were going and I replied,

"Just me. And a cat in a carrier."

"Okay," he said. Then to himself, in that voice people use when they're writing things down (I pictured a clipboard): "One person, one boxed cat."

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A little nervous

I got named to a task force earlier this year whose charge was to look into doing something very different with regard to our libraries' collections. We met all spring and summer, took the fall to write our report, and tomorrow we are making a presentation at a yearly two-day retreat for all the librarians from the satellite campuses.

When we're done we're going to be greeted with either be applause or pitchforks and torches. Or maybe stunned silence. In any event, I'm a wee bit nervous and preoccupied right now, so I can't think of anything to write. So here, look at some pretty pictures I took of the garden this summer:

More roses

My big purchase this year, garden-wise: a climbing rose called "Joseph's Coat."

The only sunflower

The lone sunflower to make it to adulthood. Everyone else either died off or failed to thrive.

Morning glory

Bought a morning glory seedling at a craft fair. I had no idea what color I was going to get. Happy that it's deep purple.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Cat. Bag. Out of.

So my Mom saw the online pictures of the gansey in progress and got all excited. She can't wait to get here for Thanksgiving so she can touch it. Exactly what she said. Myself, I'm hoping that I'm done by Thanksgiving so that I can wear it. Though, knowing my propensity to wear my dinner on my chest, perhaps that's not such a good idea.

A few hours later Mom emailed me to say she'd been looking on Amazon for copies of "Knitting Ganseys," quoted me a price she saw advertised for a used one, and wanted to know if the one I got was at a similar price.

I said yes, and then went on to explain the whole used book/higher price/better condition thing. Then I wrote:

Uhm. Having said all that, can I just say please don't buy the book because...well...Christmas is coming...and...yeah. I've started my shopping early. :)

Hint received, rejoicing commenced. Oh well. She's getting more than just this, so I guess it's okay that she knows about it. I'm not saying what else I'm giving her, though, 'cause she swings by the blog from time to time (Hi Mom! [waves]).

Folks, please try to remember that Christmas is if not right around the corner at least in the same county by now. Don't buy stuff for yourselves. Point out what you like and then walk a discreet distance away so we can get it for you. Wouldja? Please?

In Thanksgiving prep news, I've taste-tested the wild rice dressing recipe (thumbs up), the sweet potato recipe (thumbs way up), and the apricot relish (thumbs sideways). I think I'm going to buy some mango chutney or something for this year and substitute that for the cranberries. The taste of the apricot stuff was good, but the texture was unappetizing. Mushy. I have an idea what's wrong--the recipe calls for canned apricots. I think fresh (or even dried but soaked in something like orange juice) would be better. I'm going to play around with this over the summer and see if I can't fine-tune it into something usable.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Snapshot Sunday: The Gansey

So here are some pictures of the sweater I'm working on:
Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


I'm pretty pleased with it so far.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Success on the horizon

As soon as my battery charges up, I'm taking a picture of the sweater-in-progress and posting it here. I just joined the front to the back and tried it on. It fits! Huzzah! Next I work on the sleeves and the collar.

I'm so pleased with myself. I think this is something I would actually be happy to wear in public.

Of course, since I want to take a picture before I do anything else to it, that means I have to hold off on starting the sleeves. Well, maybe I'll work on another project for a while tonight.

#12, you are in my sights. I should have you crossed off before Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 05, 2010

In a bit of a rut at the moment

So here's the kind of day I've been having lately:
  • I wake up on time but take about 45 minutes to talk myself out of bed.
  • I turn on the coffee pot and then run back upstairs to take a shower.
  • By the time I'm out of the shower I realize I have just enough time to do any three of these things: eat breakfast, drink coffee, get dressed, brush teeth, catch bus that gets me to work on time. The bus usually loses.
  • I spend my work day feverishly trying to catch up with all the work I should have been doing over the past three months but didn't because I got press-ganged onto a project for another department. It started by doing something for them as a favor and rapidly turned into the Beast That Would Not Stay Fed. Now that it's over they at least have the decency to be grateful about it, but I still want to stab them all repeatedly with a dull pencil.
  • While working, I hum softly to myself in an attempt to keep the running commentary in my head from leaking out of my mouth. No one would want to hear what's going on up there right now.
  • Lunch is had hunched over my desk. I then either read my non-work email or do a few rows on the gansey I'm trying to knit (if I remembered to grab the bag it's in on my way out the door that morning). I shave about ten minutes off of my lunch to make up for not getting to work on time.
  • At some point during the day I catch sight of myself in the ladies room mirror and wonder what the hell happened. When I left the house, I looked fine. By the time I see myself in the mirror, I look like someone dragged me through a hedge backwards. The hair in particular looks ridiculous.
  • I come home to a cat who is absolutely thrilled to see me. While I change into pajamas, she rolls around on the bed and meows at me, no doubt telling me how many skeins of yarn she subdued that day.
  • Dinner is usually something so unremarkable I can't remember what it is ten minutes after I put the plate in the dishwasher.
  • After an hour of surfing, I admit there's nothing on TV. I go to bed obscenely early. Like, old-people early. I drift off to sleep only to wake with a jolt about half an hour later, realizing I haven't blogged yet and that I'd better get on that if I'm serious about NaBloPoMo.
  • I get up and write.
I just realized, writing that, that while I can't get myself out of bed to go to work I practically leap out of it to write a blog post. What's up with that?

Here's hoping my behind drags a little less after we turn the clocks back. I do better in the morning when it's light out. And now I'm going to bed.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Turkey Day for 4

My sister just emailed me this morning to tell me the Lancaster contingent will be just her this year. Hubby has to work Thanksgiving Day (he works at a lab. They can't shut down for a day, they have delicate procedures going on that can't but put on hold. I think holiday time off rotates. I'm betting he's off next year, 'cause he was off last year), so his parents are staying there and the three of them will be having their own Thanksgiving. Ditter's coming to my place.

My parents are coming Tuesday evening so Mom can help me do some prep on Wednesday. Though you know what? Prepping for four doesn't sound nearly as difficult as prepping for seven. I'd better not get too relaxed, here, or I'll be a maniac on the day itself. Who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to be insane on that say. Ditter's coming Wednesday evening, after work, I think. I don't know how long everyone is staying. It'd be nice if they could stay until Saturday or something. There's a football game here on Saturday, though, and they might want to get outta Dodge before all that madness starts.

It'll be like old times. Except that instead of at Mom's (where it used to be while I was growing up) it's at my house. Which is still a horrible, horrible mess right now but hey! I have three weeks. Oh, crappydoodle. I only have three weeks. Exactly three weeks. If you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go clean something now.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Oscillate Wildly

I have a new musical crush. Janice Whaley is working her way through the Smiths' catalog, hoping to record covers of the whole thing by December 31, 2010. She uses only her voice and some software. She calls this scheme (and her blog) The Smiths Project

Her latest offering made me want to make out with my headphones:



I need to go lie down.

P.S. To hear the music, just hit the little "play" button. You don't have to buy anything. I think I'm going to be buying some stuff to download to my iPod, but that's mainly to make sure she has funds to continue.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day 2010

I voted. And all I really have to say is thank heavens that's over with for another year.

I am so sick of the sniping, the back-stabbing, the name-calling, the out-and-out lies candidates tell about each other.

"He's an out-of-town transplant!"

"She wants to raise your taxes!"

"He did raise your taxes!"

"He wants to make all guns illegal!"

"He wants to make your kids pray in school!"

Next campaign season I fully expect one candidate showing pictures of the other one in kicking puppies or passing out crack pipes to small children. And then the other guy will retaliate by showing a video of his opponent having a kitten for breakfast. On toast.

I think what bothered me most this season were all the computerized campaign phone calls I received. Didn't they used to do these in person? Are people not volunteering like they used to? It's a weird mixed message I'm getting: "Look, we want you to vote for our guy but we're tired of saying it. So here, listen to this recorded message from the candidate's wife/mother/imaginary staffer named Dave."

It is so unsatisfying to scream "F--- off and leave me alone!" at a computer. You know? But I guess it's an even trade. I wouldn't hear their message, they didn't hear mine.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Ow

I woke up a couple hours ago with a vicious headache that nothing has been able to tame. Aspirin? It caught the aspirin one-handed and tossed it aside. Caffeine? It swatted that away and kept coming. Allergy medicine (because maybe it's sinus pressure)? It blew a raspberry at my Allegra. Multivitamin (maybe it's lack of iron)? "Nice try," it said with a sneer, lunging at me with both hands.

I've called in sick to work and plan to sit here bundled up on the sofa with a cup of mint tea for a while. I have some sort of brand X excedrin that I'm going to try later. Can't use it until this aspirin I took wears off. There's aspirin in the brand X stuff. Don't want to thin my blood so much that my ears start to ring. (Yes, I did do that once. Not my idea of a good time). Meanwhile I'll just sit here and pinch the area between my thumb and index finger with my other thumb and index finger (old acupressure trick Mom taught me. Sometimes it works) and wish this beast with my head in its fist would just go away.