Monday, December 20, 2010

The wonder of holiday cookie baking

Cookies and holidays. What could be more joyous than that combination? Well, baking cookies for the masses during the holiday rush dampens joy.

My friend Pat has been baking cookies for her church, neighbors, family and other friends since her daughters were babies. They're really big babies now but still she bakes and somehow hooks me into it. It's been happening for a long, long time. Her kitchen takes on cookie factory proportions and honestly, I have no idea how so many of us fit comfortably in the kitchen and baking area but we do somehow.

 There is CHRISTMAS music playing on the iPod stereo and her house is decorated brightly with a dazzling tree and hanging, dangling festive holiday flare is everywhere. Her house is warm and toasty and alive with the scents of cinnamon and ginger and melting chocolate. The peace is interrupted only by her exclamations of "WHY DO I SMELL COOKIES BURNING?" and "HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT!!" as she races from the kitchen with a tray of cookies fresh out of the oven. 

You really don't want to be in her way when this happens. Don't ask me how I know.

 She's a task mistress and there is no farking around with her. She will give you The Look if you don't fall in line. She has recipes and a schedule and things must roll at a good clip. She has it down to a science. She knows how long it will take to measure, sift, mix and place dollops and how long it will take to roll dough and she knows when her daughters will reach saturation point but these days with teenagers, she's reaching saturation first.

She has peanut butter cookies with a giant chocolate candy kiss center, traditional chocolate chip cookies, pecan balls dipped in confectioner's sugar, raspberry strippers with a lemony drizzle. Oh my goodness, the raspberry strippers are so yummy. 

This year, in memory of her dear friend Barbara who recently died, Pat added Barbara's own absolutely delicious Ginger Snap cookies. It was a sweet and poignant 
addition to her line-up. 

The cookies were all finally baked after a day of slaving and whip cracking and there we all sat while flour floating through the air like mist. I sat and knit with no cookie related stress.
 Pat, on the other hand, was exhausted and she would truly kill me if I posted the photo of her once the last batch of cookies were out of the oven and cooling on the racks. 

A few moments of rest before the horrific realization that the Christmas Turkey was yet to be purchased and thawed. I think I left right around that same time. lol


Thursday, September 30, 2010


Wow. I'm a bad blogger. I haven't been very attentive. But that will change this weekend when I catch up with myself.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Barns in the office

There is a woman in my office who brings a huge Ziploc of Cheerios in every day and eats … wait, that’s too civil … snarfs, wolfs, vacuums, snorts them down. Inhale wouldn’t be right because inhaling implies a smooth transition down with no hang-ups. Wrong.

She sits a couple of people away and yes, it is 7:30 when she arrives but still … I can hear her tossing them in and SNAP, the steel trap closing on them. Obviously, she chomps with her mouth wide open because the smell of decimated Cheerios makes it way to my area and I tell you, I want to throw up.

The closest description I can give you is a horse chomping on the side of the stable. An exaggerated CRUNCHCRUNCHCRUNCH CHOMPCHOMPCHOMPCHOMP CRUNCHCRUNCHCRUNCHCRUNCH. Just imagine the sound you’d make describing the noisiest eater you have ever heard to someone who hasn’t heard it before and that is what The Horse sounds like. And again, I sit two cubicles away. The aroma of chewed up nasty Cheerios. Gaggaggaggag.

I have dry heaves. And I haven’t even begun on the noise and how my body cringes each time the CRUNCHCHOMPCRUNCH begins. The new VP sits RIGHT THERE. I mean RIGHT THERE beside me. Too close in my opinion. VPs need offices but that’s another rant for another entry. He arrives at 7 so he’s held hostage to her Cheerios Crunch Fest. He has to wonder why they put him in the center of a barn. 

I had to walk by her desk because I really didn’t believe a lone human could generate so much damned noise. I casually cruised by and looked over. The Ziploc bag was ¾ empty (Thank GOD! The torment is almost over) and her hand was resting inside. 

Does she really think eating a half box of dry Cheerios is healthy? Did she see a mother give a kid dry Cheerios and think, “WOW, that’s a healthy snack!!” Well, the portion the mother gave to her kid probably WAS healthy. Pretty sure it wasn’t half the damned box.

When does she go on vacation so the rest of us can have a vacation?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blocking is magic

The first time I knit lace, I spent most of the knitting time fretting over the wrinkled up, bunched up pile of glob hanging off the needles. The only thing that kept me going until I completed it was Ravelry. I scoured the site and was relieved beyond measure to see similar blob-like products hanging from the needles of more experienced lace knitters. But how did they get such beauty from Globbedy Blob? I kept knitting, hoping there would be some answer at the end to resolve the balled up mess that grew with each row.

When I cast off and held what should be a shawl, I knew I'd really mucked it all up somehow but knew I would not unravel it and start over. If I couldn't make it look the way it looked in the pattern photo, I would dump the entire jacked up mess into the rubbish bin.

But the answers could be found online and I soaked and nervously pinned and blocked and was absolutely amazed during the pinning. Amateur pinning, to be sure but what was opening under my inexperienced hands was astounding. AND as soon as I realized I didn't eff it all up, I was ready to cast on more lace. 

Lace = crack for knitters.

All of this to say the magic happened again for me during the Shetland Lace Triangle. I used Jo Sharp DK Wool Tweed, which felt like rope by the way, knitting until I couldn't take the rough yarn any longer (almost 5 skeins) and soaked in SOAK then soaked in fabric softener (Downy Lavender or Orchid or some such flowery goodness) and blocked. The shawl, to my delight, grew and grew and grew.
Already, I'm thinking about my next couple of shawls and yes, I do have the patterns at the ready. I figured out a way to block this huge thing with just the 4 interlocking squares and I must say I'm impressed with my cleverness. 

Now ... Gawain next? Tangled Yoke? Grace? Or maybe something quick like the DIC shawl. When we went to Stitch House today for their Third Anniversary Party (which was a good time, btw, until we ran out of space. It was quickly time to get out of there because I don't do crowds very well), I saw a gal wearing the shrug and it looked good. She said it barely took 2 skeins and that was good news to me because I have 2 skeins in Ruby River just waiting for something cool to become.

Shetland is dry and LOVE! It blocked beautifully and I have been waltzing around flinging it over my shoulders. It's huge, it's gorgeous and I love it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Date me

Why do men put sexual crap into their profiles? WHY?

I have received messages from men on various websites and after checking out the photos (yes, I'm somewhat shallow. Sue me) and reading the profiles, I admit my interest being piqued.

Then, without fail, somewhere in the profile is a mention of sex. Or penis size. Something vaguely distasteful and hanky panky-esque.


This morning I received a request for communication on eHarmony. I took a look at the profile and he seemed ok. Fun even. Then, dammit, under "The things I can't live without are:"
"icecream/lovemaking not nec. in that order"

It was the fourth or fifth thing but still. Why include it?


We all know you can't live without it. We all know you love it. Everyone does. There is no need to bring that shit up in your profile!

Another message I received:
" look interesting and would love to know more about you............xx"

Uhm, what am I, some kind of SPECIMEN? Grudgingly, I move to his profile because, hey, he could be a nice guy. Maybe he's just not good at breaking the ice.


Under "The most private thing I'm willing to admit", his response:
"I am well endowed down under.. "

OMG. I cannot take it. I just can't. 

Where is the damned wine? 

Knees, knitting and kneading

I finally became a big gurl and had my knee arthroscopy. *sweats* I dreaded it. I knew it had to be done but instead of pulling on those big gurl panties, I whined and limped and put on the put upon face and martyred myself for many months. 

Talking about postponing the inevitable. Ack. 

So last Friday, I had it done and my ortho and physical therapist and galpals were all right. It was far less traumatic than I previously envisioned. 

Really, I shouldn't have been such a baby. My friend H had so many surgeries on her broken foot I'm sure she lost count. She could have no weight bearing for seven (7, yes 7) long and arduous months. Stop n Shop's Peapod was her BFF. She memorized their entire home delivery list.

She communed with her favorite chair. Now her foot is as good as new but man, can you imagine crutches and no weight bearing for almost a year? I think she probably could have become an aerialist if she wanted to because she could fling herself through the air in crazy ways during those seven torturous months on crutches. And no safety net, either!

So I'm at one week post operative and the knitting is crazy. CA-RAZY. I'm almost done with M's sweater. I had to put it down because, quite frankly, I got tired of looking at it.

The cats are beginning to think I'm a permanent couch fixture so they knead on me constantly. This morning, I was happy they were kneading near me because I awakened just in time to see a horrible, slithery, fast moving centipede going up the wall.

*excuse me for a moment while I scream*

I grabbed a flipflop and crushed it. Then had to calm myself down long enough to go get the Fantastic, paper towels and do my crime scene clean-up. OMG, I hate slithery creepycrawlies. I'm still shaking and it's been about half an hour. Why must they invade us? I don't go outside and slither around their space. I don't dig in their dirt or decide to hang out near their lounge area. If you enter my home, you risk the back of a handy flip flop. If you're outside, I won't bother you. It is a fair deal. Stay. out.

To console my shaky self, I immediately turned to the world inside the laptop and checked out Bloomies cos Bloomies always makes things better. Not that I can buy anything. Buying is a joke at the moment. No, I can't buy anything but I can look. Looking doesn't hurt.

I encounter the Clog Boot(ies).

Let's consider this.

One of the properties of clogs is the openness of the back, correct? UGG has closed up the back yet still calls it a Clog. If you encase a sandal, is it still a sandal or does it now become a shoedal?

The appeal of the damned thing is enough to make me want to try it on. It's the first time I'd actually want to fold down a boot. I've never folded down any boot despite the option because it seemed so 70s Little House but these are funky enough to give it a whirl.  But if I was going to dive in and just buy the whole Clog Boot concept, this is the one I'd get: tall, suede, lean.

Now I'm off to knit more while I ponder my knee. And scan the walls and floors for centipedes. *cry* 

I'm working on Irish Diamond, Hampton Cardi and Lillehammer. Yes, Lillehammer from freakin' 1994? Ok, I actually ordered the yarn kit in 2002 and was freaked out by the charts and overly complex instructions and the general fevered enthusiasm from the Yahoo Groups. Those gals were the nicest and most helpful people I've ever encountered in an online knit group but their skill set was light years ahead of mine back then and I think I was just too impatient to actually sit down and work through it. 

I did go to Staples or Kinkos or some such place and blow up the main charts to Jolly Green Giant size because the intricacy of the charts was lost in the original fairy size. Only Rowan is worse when it comes to teeny tiny maddeningly squinty sized charts. WTF? Someone needs to tell Rowan we can hardly see the chart much less see there are actually little marks inside the stitch square. *rolleyes*

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I fought the law and the ... LAW WON

Not really. I'm steering clear of the law. The pattern for the Tosh shawl won and it won big. Suddenly, I was 2 stitches off and could not find where it began. Ripped a row, still not right. I'm not ripping more than that so the whole thing was frogged. Whatever. A million other shawls waiting to be knit. Not getting stuck on one temperamental pattern. *take that, shawl*