Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mysteries resolved

We had a few of them piling up. The mystery of Who Made the Fabulous Book of Photos? That would be Jena. You are a goddess, Jena. Thank you. The mystery of Where the Hell is My IRA Rollover? It finally showed up. Yay. And boo to you, Bank of America; you totally made it the most ridiculous process imaginable.

The yarn from the crazed (and I do mean crazed) yarn fetish jaunt appears now. First, the malabrigo (swoon) (thud).

(comes to) What the hell?? Oh, yeah; I was taking a picture, wasn't I? Okay. Oh, first? First, if you want to sign up for the Socks That Rock Sock Club, go do that now. I'll wait. I may have to pick myself up off the floor again, and I don't want that you should be hanging around with nothing to do while that's all going on. There.

Oh, and second, if you have been meaning to get around to it but haven't, it's nearly the end of the tax year and Yarn Harlot did ask for donations to Medecins Sans Frontieres, so I'm just sayin'...I'm probably the last knitter left who hadn't gotten around to it yet, but there you go. I haven't made a Clapotis yet, either. Or Jaywalkers. But the yarn's waiting, it's there, it'll happen. Here we go! Picture of some of the yarn that makes me fall over in a swoon--trademark blur, color correction left to the imagination, but it is in fact a warm shade of wine and bright green. Whee!

I'm procrastinating, of course. DD#2 chose yarn for a poncho. Yes, a poncho. And she went looking through mommy's stash, and she chose...Lion Brand Lion Suede. This is a chenille yarn that is really soft, but positively unspeakable to knit. It sticks, it breaks, it is ...ewww. But that's what she picked.

Um, blurry picture of some more yarn:

Fabulous. I hadn't seen Rowan Spray in the flesh before, and it bewitched me. I stood there staring and staring. And staring. The colors! They're

Roundup, aka html bingo (let's see if I can make it, shall we?): Thank you, Mel--the Japanese folks I consulted had no idea what seitan was, either; nice to know it's not just me. And thanks, Carole, Lucia, Lynne, the inimitable Tattoo Queen, and Kat, and Jennifer (who I swear I gotta see sometime, fer heavens' sake), and Secret Pal--Christmas done, now; onward to New Year's, which will be a whole lot simpler as it's never been anything in particular.

Cheers, all.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry-ness, and thanks

This is the Christmas Frog. The story of the Christmas Frog will wait for another day, but for now, let his cheerful ribbit serve as an emblem of made-up tradition and the joy of the season.

I've been the beneficiary of a great deal of good will and cheer this Christmas. Thank you, Jena and everyone, the cushion is lovely and comfy. Thank you, Whoever Made the Beautiful Book of Steve's photos, it is gorgeous and who are you?? A wrapped parcel was on my doorstep along with the bag of cushion and I don't know from whence the book came, but I love it. Thank you, Santa, whoever you really are, for the 12 days of Christmas we're in the middle of--we've been receiving little packages every day from someone signing themselves "Old Santa," and it's been a joy.

Christmas Day at my aunt's was lovely. More cousins than I expected, really fun, and my son loved playing with my cousin's son, and my aunt had some of DH's favorite beer (Sam Smith) (oo, it's really good stuff) to toast his memory, and it was a warm, wonderful time. Thankful for my huge, presposterous, incredible extended family. (Most of the extended family wants to get hold of their own copies of the wonderful book made by Whoever That Was, btw)

And thank you for driving today, Lynne! I, er, bought some yarn. Haven't done that in a while. It took me ages to get my act together this morning (for which read: it was nearly not morning any more) and call and go, hey let's go today, and Lynne's like, hey, right now? and I'm like, oh yeah, and she was like, oh yeah, and we were both like, all right! sweet! and we totally bought like, more yarn than you would think two otherwise sane ladies would ever contemplate. But we had this one coming. Really. There was Rowan that I hadn't seen in the flesh before, and some Silky Tweed on sale, and ... whisper: malabrigo. (swoon, thud) (goddamn, that still happens!)

(wakes up) Oh. Yeah, we found a couple of things, like you do. This 'n that. I also picked up the current Rowan magazine, which I needed to do because yet again I have let my subscription run out by mistake--face it, with only two issues, you lose track--and there is some humdinger hilarious stuff in there. A crocheted item which appears to be my grandmother's bureau scarf, worn as a belt. Yes, this will come in the knitting bag to point and laugh at Wed. night.

G'night, all. I'm going to pour a small glass of Bailey's and watch Dr. Who dvd's (!) and fondle some yarn. It's nice to find myself wanting to do that again. Cheers.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Warm and cozy

What with Julie and everyone cooking up individual storms, I made some tasty stew for lunch. It's adapted from the recipe in the Kripalu Cookbook. I substitute tempeh for the seitan that's called for - I never can find seitan, it mystified the people at the Asian grocery shop, and with that, I gave up and decided to re-christen it Tempeh Stew.

Also low fat and vegan, for those who care about that sort of thing. How to:
3 T. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about 2 medium onions)
1 cup sliced celery (3 stalks)
1 cup sliced carrot (okay, we like carrots a lot - 5 carrots)
1 cup diced potato (2 potatoes)
1 cup chopped/sliced/whatever parsnip (I only had two)
1 package tempeh, diced
6 and 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried sage
3/4 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced or halved (depending on what you can find)
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Saute the onions in the oil until translucent. Add tempeh and saute until the tempeh begins to brown. Add celery, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, water, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for about half an hour.

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least another 15 minutes. It's soup, so you can let it simmer for a while without harming it.

Tada. The original recipe calls for adding some arrowroot as a thickener, but I dislike doing that and when you use potatoes, the starch from them leaches into the soup to make it thick enough. At least for me.

We've had a group of bluebirds hanging around the house for the last couple of weeks. It's the second time in my life I've seen bluebirds, and I'm thrilled. They're so cheerful and sweet and pretty. It seems to be a pair of couples on a winter vacation together. They fly up into the trees when our one outdoor cat ventures out, and watch quite calmly while we're out with the dog. I get a very peaceful feeling watching them.

Books I'm reading - hey, I'm reading some books! - Emergence by Steven Johnson: This one is fascinating, and also not too dense going. The decentralized group functionality he describes makes me think of how terrorist cells actually seem to work (as opposed to how the US government seems to think they work, with a centralized top-down hierarchy). And I snagged A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby: as with all his stuff, this book is great fun to read and really hits the spot--a nice cup of tea for your mind, if you will. Um, snagged it at the do Sunday evening, and I promise to send it to Christina very, very soon. As soon as I finish it. Which should be momentarily.

Homeschooling find of the month has to be the Thinkwell course oldest is doing. It's a rigorous biology course, with online quizzes and everything, and she's loving it. Hey, she chuckles at the jokes the presenter makes during the lectures - how cool is that?

I fully intend to get Christmas cards printed today, and mailed in the next couple of days. I'll be breaking my "no driving on Tuesdays" rule to go to the post office for stamps. We shall see how that turns out. Fingers crossed that I really, really have enough inkjet cartridges.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I'm surprised that it's been so long since last post, but then I have no time sense any more. Ah, well. Hi!

I did recover from the ass-kicking that was the reconstructed I-93 ramps. It took somewhat longer to recover from the ass-kicking that was the few glasses of wine while out with some friends on Tuesday night. Purely in the interest of science, we note for the record that the combination of hangover + caffeine withdrawal headache = desperately non-functional Weasel. Oh, god, it was sucky on Wednesday. Except for seeing the gals; that part was fun (hi!). I have since realized that losing 15 pounds significantly alters my drinking capacity. We will not forget this again any time soon.

Onward to Thursday, in which I had my last session of Neuroscience for Kids (which I've been teaching) (based on the website linked--it's pretty cool stuff, IMHO) (but then I'm a geek). The surprise there was that I had comparatively little trouble getting my microscope to focus so the kids could look at neurons.

And we got home and Surprise! The answering machine informed me that my husband's headstone had been installed. Yay? I guess? I'm glad, but I honestly can't find a way to express how that feels, or even inform people about it. It's overwhelmingly sad, but also good, and grim, and final, and what the hell do I say anyway? "Want to come see it with me?" Boy, does that sound like a good time or what? I mean, really. "Hi, just letting you know, there's a gravestone in now. Want to see pictures?" Well, not especially, I'm guessing, is most people's feeling. So I probably am not going to post one. I think he would approve of the stone: very simple, black granite, no foo-foo crap on it. So I spent a bunch of time crying on Friday, visiting the grave in daylight and putting some Christmas decorations there, like you do. Or would, had you occasion so to do. Which I do. Do be do be do.

Well, then we just had all kinds of fun all over the place. Which was lovely. (Thank you, Lynne and Lynne, for yesterday)

And then today, a package came from my secret pal! surprise! hurray! Look at the nifty stuff! Whee! Thanks, Selkie (and no, I have not figured out who you really are other than your general location)! The homemade chex mix is yummy. There is chocolate. There is coffee. And there are spiffy Knitpicks sock needles for me to play with, which is great 'cause that's on the list of things I want to do. The picture is in my trademark slightly-out-of-focus, and it is also difficult to see just how lovely the colors of the yarn are. You will simply have to trust me on this--they're lovely.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Some days are like that, even in Australia

It's been one of those days.

I got the kids up and moving and got the Christmas tree stand out of the attic and we went and bought a Christmas tree, and we got it home, and I moved some furniture, and got the tree into the house, and then...I broke the stand. Tree, sideways on the floor, we hope (fervently) not dripping sap onto the carpet. Because we had to GO! OUT!

We had to leave for the city, drop off a kid, take other two kids to my aunt's for a brief "happy 40th" for my cousin, then get back to pick up kid...and I got my ass handed to me by the Big Dig. I was so sure I was going the right way, and then...I wasn't. I was affronted. I was pissed. How dare the ramp off Storrow Drive be so irreversible so early and unfixable for so long? Goddamnit. I know exactly how to get to my aunt's house, but I got friggin' lost. (Insert many, many bad words here.) The children got a tour with colorful commentary of the chemical storage facilities in Chelsea and environs. Most delightful. Oh, wait--not.

The trip back from aunt's to Cambridge was no better--I got sucked into the vortex of "wait, I want 93 south but I DO NOT want the damn Williams tunnel! oh, god! what the hell happened to Storrow Drive??" and driving through the airport (WTF??) following signs that say "airport exit" but which in fact direct you to the taxi storage lot. Oh, it was special, in a way that I would need to be physically present to make fully manifest for you. Of course I was running out of gas, too, which only added to the excitement--nightmare scenarios flashed by, of being stuck in some hellhole of a tunnel god knows where, out of gas and with a child who for once does not have a cell phone with her waiting in vain for mom to pick her up.

We were not amused.

We're all fine now, home safe and sound, new tree stand purchased (after going to three stores, of course) (there is no part of this operation that will go smoothly, it is clear), tree up, more lights up on outside of house, and now...I'm drinking some very good bourbon. Thank you, witchypoo, most fervently. Knob Creek, with some orange juice and sugar, and it's going down very nicely indeed.

I've made a something or two (whee!) for my secret pal, and have a something in the works (whee!), and so, well, some knitting is happening. Just not of a sort that can come out on the internets.

I am grateful beyond all description for Lynne and Lynne and Tattoo Queen and my aunt and the huge insane clan that is my family and my kids and the dog and all four cats and A Neighbor Guy (long story), and the neighbors across the street, and Jena and Lucia and Lynne again and Melinda and Monique for asking us over. Thank you. (Okay, I know a whole bunch of those don't read this, but still.)

When the day hands you your ass, you better sit the hell down. I'm a-sittin', and I'm stayin' right here. See a bunch of you at Javaroom. Cheers!

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Lucia (Thank you, Lucia!) has kindly sent the names of everybody who made parts of the afghan. THANK YOU to: Julie, Ruth, Miss B and Lucia, Anne, Erica, Kathleen, Abby, Jennifer, Lynne, Patrice, Dale, Kathy, Nicole, Lauren, Rosanna, and Jena. How did I manage to leave off Ruth and Jena and Dale and and and...

Thank you. You people are very good with the sneaky planning-so's-I-don't-suspect-anything. And I'm so grateful for your kindness.

Pictures and other stuff

So, the evening at the theatre: Beautiful. The production is simply beautiful. ART is running a stage version of Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, and it is astonishing. The review in the Globe doesn't mention the amazing musicians, one of whom is Dutch and stunning and sings beautifully in Spanish, French, German, Dutch, and English, at different times. Hooray, art. Hooray, ART.

And I've been remiss in posting this: There is a one-time only warehouse relocation sale yesterday (oops) and today (yay!) for the US distributor of Rowan and Jaeger yarns. Here's the info, nearly but not quite too late: Westminster Fibers, 9 am to 5 pm, 18 Celina Ave. Unit 17, Nashua, NH 03063. They're clearing out sample garments, yarn, books, etc. Go to town, if you've a mind to.

Now the big thing: THANK YOU!

I love it. (How did you guys know about the green?) (Oh, yeah...) It looks and feels wonderful, and furthermore looks perfect in the room with the stained glass with the same color scheme. Thanks to Julie, Lucia, Ruth, Erica (!), Patrice, Nicole, Jen, Abby, Witchypoo, Rosana--and I know I'm leaving people out and I don't mean to, I'm sorry. It is stunning and lovely and thank you thank you thank you. What a wonderful thing, you wonderful ladies. Thank you.

Thank you for posting a working link for the speed-o'-meme, Kat--oops. Not sure exactly where mine went wrong, hence it going wrong; thank you for the correction.

My dear daughters both made their NaNoWriMo goals! I didn't, but oldest finished with over 50K (whoo hoo!) and younger made her goal of 10K (whoo hoo!). We're doing some happy dancing, here. What amazing kids.

Found a lovely image on the digital camera this morning, one that my darling apparently didn't think was good enough to post to his flickr site but I think it's beautiful:

Tattoo Queen, here's the finished Harry Potter castle, with my thanks and the kids', too--you're splendid, if I haven't mentioned that recently: