Friday, February 29, 2008

C is for Catatonic

No, not really, but it's a state that has a certain appeal right now. I am very behind in a lot of things; work, prizes, gardening, email, and library books included. (Thank goodness for online renewal systems. And I apologize to all the librarians. Really I'm not usually this bad). Thank you all so much for the well wishes. I will get back to you soon, I do promise.

C is also for cabin fever which I've got real bad right now, seeing as we've had an extremely unusual 2 weeks of unseasonable sunny days. It's not all that much fun to have to work inside right now. And 50 degrees F! Gah, it's almost balmy. The clouds are supposed to close in tomorrow for thunderstorms and possible hail.

I finished the first sock of the obsessive-compulsive control socks. So pretty. I like to admire them in the sunshine from the window. Have I done anything AT ALL on the Mission Possible projects? HAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHA no.

I keep collecting C words to use and pictures to accompany them and then not getting everything together. So it might be several days of C-celebration here. You've been warned. For today: there's a lot of great C words that just sound nifty, not matter what their meaning. I always liked the line about "concupiscent curds" in the Wallace Stevens poem. Compulsory, concurrent, cupidity, coordinate, celeriac. Maybe I just like 3-syllable words with 2nd-syllable emphasis.

Really, though, c will always be for

mmmmmmmmmm cookies

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cute 'n' fuzzy

Arrrgh, this morning at the gym someone had "Animal Planet" on, and what were they showing? Goslings, little baby gooses who weren't yet able to fly, who had to jump off a 100-foot rocky cliff so that they could go find food. Let's not even go into the footage that followed soon after of a fox carrying off one of the lucky survivors.

I think I need a dose of Cute Overload, stat.

The cat says: "Goslings? WHERE?"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I'm sorry I haven't been around. I meant to be but then I never seem to find the right mood to sit down and write anything coherent. Also, I'm doing that hide-from-my-email thing, and it's really piling up, and it feels unfair to post and not actually answer mail. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I'm sorry.

I'm having trouble keeping up with everyday life. Tonight I feel like Bitchy McBitchersons. I'll try not to let it bleed into here. You all don't deserve that.

Look! Cute kitty!

It's become a regular feature, like the Friday night movie. Tuesday: Big Alice shows classic depressive symptoms YET AGAIN. Will she manage to pay the credit card bill this month? Film at 11. I am SO not entertaining enough to be a Lifetime movie. Crossing things off the to-do list gives me no relief, it's just guilt I didn't do it sooner and the rest just looms up ahead like an ominous, nearly crashing wave. I concentrate on the small things, stuff that gives me a guaranteed happy boost, even if for a few moments. It's hell to pay later (such as when I have the unfortunate acknowledgment of Just. How. Fat. I. Am), but it's all about the little tradeoffs right now. Yes I'm exercising. If I'm not exercising, my back gives me hell to pay. It is a very nice way to empty out the crap thoughts in my head, if only for an hour, and I'm very grateful for that. I need to make friends with the drugs again but I really don't much care to go to my doc (although it'd probably be easy to get Dr. Pillman to give me whatever prescription I ask for). See, the side effects are not all that fun. Again, little tradeoffs. I'm hoping that the increase in sunshine will be self-medicating enough. Only 30 days 'til the solstice!

Pretty flowers! Morning glories! (Am I distracting from the words enough yet?)

I've been doing a lot of dyeing (NOTE the 'e' in that word, ahem) lately because color makes me happy. Only I have this little, uh, saturation problem. As in, I have too much of it. I don't seem to be able to manage a pastel. Oh well. The red especially pleases me. I tried to take pictures but they didn't come out so well. The camera is not so good at capturing these colors. I'll try again in another light.

I also started a new sock, just because. It's with some Trekking XXL, all purple and gold and a little bit of green and blue thrown in for fun, and I am just a tad bit OBSESSED with this sock. Maybe it's because I don't have to actually plan it or anything, I'm just following a pattern (kind of. I tweaked it a little) and enjoying the colors. I think it's because I'm heavily into the control over the thing. sigh.

Look, a mountain!
Mt Hood, looking pretty and pointy on a camping trip from a few years ago.

I'll come back to reality soon, I have to prune the roses. It's early Spring now, the weather's changed for good, and oh lordy did I enjoy this last weekend, mild & full o' sunshine. I would've enjoyed it more if I'd actually been able to take off Monday as a holiday like the rest of my coworkers, but work is doing the too-much-to-do-not-enough-time thing lately for me. And no, I didn't even get it all done. But I did skein up my pretty, pretty red yarn. Gonna have to make more of that, it's so nice.

The cat says, I can stare down any of you.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pearly Whites & Knitting Angst

I had a dentist appointment this morning. It was just a regular cleaning, not even x-rays this time.

I don't much care to go to the dentist but I REALLY don't like having my teeth drilled, so I am A+++ Great Dental Hygiene person. Oh yes I floss.

It's probably wrong and all messed up that I get a little glow inside when I get "Wow, you have great teeth!" compliments from the dentist. It's my little opportunity for professional approval, seeing as I'm a fatty and always get the lose weight talk from the doctor (at least he's nice about it.)

Anyway, hooray, no cavities! Safe for another 6 months.
The robins do not care about the state of your teeth.


I've been kinda off lately, hence all the navel gazing. Also I've been suffering through a spate of the gimmes. You know, happiness through retail therapy? What I really need is less of things. sigh.


I made aioli last night for the first time. Wow, was that easy. I don't think I've ever done an emulsion before besides salad dressing (and that always separates, I don't shake it up enough). This was garlic aioli with rosemary and thyme, as a sauce for roasted root vegetables. I sometimes like to buy weird veggies and try them. Yeah, I don't know how to explain the Weird Vegetable Fascination either. I mean, fennel? Leeks? You just haven't lived 'til you've stared at celeriac, wondering what to do with it.

Although, I've never used to be much of a vegetable fan, they always needed to be slathered with sauces and spreads to mask the taste. That was until I discovered that I do like veggies, I just don't like how they'd usually been served to me. I'm a fan of the raw and the lightly cooked. And I've also discovered that I adore roasting. Cauliflower didn't have to be watery and boring, but it could be sweet and nutty. Broccoli? Doesn't have to be steamed into pale green submission.

So the wild hair up my rear this time was parsnips and rutabagas (I got some carrots to, as a backup) (Cook's Illustrated described people as thinking of parsnips as "pale, anemic carrots," which cracks me up.) After some initial confusion as to how large or small to slice the Vegetables of Mystery, I roasted for about 45 with some carrots, onions and garlic. Mmmmm yum, they were delicious, especially with a little touch of the aioli. Did you know rutabagas turn this lovely golden color when roasted?

The hen-and-chicks is not interested in the color of roasted rutabagas, as long as you do not eat them.


SeekrIt Project is done and submitted. Now I'm working on a hat, just a 3x2 rib, but it's made out of something special. My friend and coworker Cassidy gave me the first handspun she ever made with her new wheel, as a thank you for some dyes I'd given her. Her first handspun! Aren't you supposed to enshrine that up on the mantle, like bronzed baby shoes? She says she doesn't care for the colors.

Cassidy's handspun

And here comes the Knitting Angst. See, I like to knit. I actually enjoy just forming the stitches and watching it grow. Color changes? Even more engrossing. I also like to design because I like doing my own thing. But I really don't like the involved angst. Some days I'm better at coping than others, but right now, I Just Want To Knit.

So. Try #1 at the hat was too small (yes I knit a gauge swatch). Also seemed a little too open so I went down a needle size. Try #2 seemed way too big until I tried it on and it's just perfect now. Whew. I'm happily knitting along on my big ribbed tube (I tell K it's a cat cozy), but the yarn is getting a bit thicker as I go along and now I'm all worried. Is it too stiff? Should I go up a needle size? I'll have to decrease a bunch of stitches so it's not too big. Am I losing the essential lovely springiness of the yarn?

Gah, it's this WORRY that bugs me more than anything else. See, really, I should just go up a needle size or 2, try that out and see how it looks, and if I like it better, rip it out back to the part where I'm afraid it's too stiff and change to the other needle. But I DON'T WANT TO RIP AGAIN. grrr. I want it to be perfect NOW, the first time. grump.

This whole obsessively perfect-on-the-first try thing is bugging the hell out of me.


Aw crud. Something happened (no, nothing big. I'm just crap at regulating how I feel these days. Tiny little things make huge waves), and now I feel like dirty smelly 5-day-old garbage. I'm going back in my hermit hole.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

B is for Boy, I'm tired

Here it's Sunday night but not all that late and all I want to do is crawl under the covers for some blessed unconsciousness. But more about that later. First things first:

B is for blueberries!

Possibly the easiest accessible fruit ever. You don't even have to bend down or reach up, you just reach out and pick. No thorns, and the ripe ones are easily distinguished from the unripe.

That picture is of our little miniature blueberry, who lives in a pot and I think is lonely because it never does produce many berries. A fully-loaded blueberry bush is a sight to behold. Every other summer or so the itch gets to me and we go to the u-pick farms and go wild. YUM. We also come home with about 8 pounds of blueberries. Do you know how long it takes to consume 8 pounds of blueberries? There were also a couple pies involved, if I must admit.

And I'd really not like to forget blackberries and boysenberries and all those other variants which might not happen to start with B. Damn, now I've got boysenberry pie on the brain.

B is also for blossoms

and blooms!

Neither of which there are much of right now. I'm just a squidge bit tired of winter. Remind me of that when I'm complaining about a heat wave this summer, will you? Although the camellias are pumping the blooms out and pansies are still going strong, even after a week of sub-freezing temps.

B, so versatile!
So tasty! (I wanted to mention butter here, but I figured a picture of a stick of butter is kind of pushing it).

And one particular B that's on my mind:
My bicycle!

Last weekend K bought me a Christmas/birthday bike (yes, and it's even a blue bike. K favored what he called the 'slick Darth Vader' black one, but I preferred the bright, garish blue. Yeah, still working on that subtlety thing). Isn't it beautiful? We went for a little ride afterwards and I. thought. my. legs. would. fall. off. That gym stuff is really working good, ain't it. Sigh. K says that I *had* gone to the gym that morning and had taken all those test rides, so not to feel too bad. Bah.

I've been trying to ride frequently this week to build up my tush calluses (I did get a woman's saddle. Now I feel much more, ahem, supported), but it's difficult when it's raining ALL THE TIME. Today there was a bit of sunshine between dramatic snow/hailstorms, so we headed off (it of course started raining as soon as we got out of the driveway). I think we did about 8 miles, based on my eyeing the map. Now all my muscles are pleasantly warm and tired, but I know that my gluteus maximii are going to express their wrath tomorrow, I can just feel it.

We're trying to get ready for the Worst Day of the Year Ride. Hopefully I will not die halfway through. K assures me it's OK to bail if it gets too bad and take public transit back home. But oh the shame! (plus I would miss the cookies)