Wednesday, June 30, 2010

...also known as "What I did on my Summer Vacation"

Which is really what the latest round of daily posting is about. When I have to go back to work, I want to be able to remember that I did more than just sit on my donkey doing nothing.

Today I mowed what we call the "back 40." It's not really 40 and it's as much above as it is in back- That's Mr. Sophanne's burn can in the middle.

I also went to "the big city" and had my nails done. That Cracks Me Up. Ninety percent of the nails pictured are not my own. I am not a nails kind of gal. Truth be told, I barely bathe on what most of the world considers an acceptable basis (but regularly if I know I'm going to meet blog friends, so fear not) And yet now I have a french manicure. I went for the square tips because it's what Aunt of Sophanne has and I couldn't remember what the other kind are called. Go ahead and place your bets in the comments as to how long I'll keep this up.

Finally, while wandering around the house yesterday I found this guy and stuck him next to the lemon balm to keep it in line. He's got a girlfriend hiding in the house but I don't remember where.

I've finished the straight stitch of goodlyneighborEllen's traveling woman shawlette. Off to see if I can get it done before vacation so that we can bribe ask her to water the plants and feed the cat while we're gone.

In other knitting news, I accidentally spent a fortune at the yarn store yesterday. Once these 10 in 2010 are done be prepared for socks. The ones I made last summer were so useful all winter. Also- I think I'm going to get married to the Namaste circular needle organizer. Just as soon as I get used to not having a snake-like mess of unknown sizes of circs surrounding me at all times. I also acquired one of those fancy knit kits. I was slow to get one because I hated the shape. I think it looks like one of the old fashioned (or not so old-fashioned) birth control pill dispensers. But after not having scissors for the past three knit nights, I indulged.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's summer..

without a trip to the flea market?

Me and the girl (LizaJane) took a walk to the fairgrounds for the Tuesday morning flea market. It's the first weather day in a while that I could not come up with an excuse not to go. I slipped a ten in my pocket just in case I saw glass mixing bowls or one of those woks that you put over a stove burner. I found instead a cake plate for $5. I think I'll hide it until the next cake. No sense advertising kitchen clutter.

The red STR traveling woman shawlette is now in the happy hands of Gardeningneighbor-plant sharing-Marilyn. She belongs to the Red Hat Society and "oh won't those women be jealous." She even brought out one of the outfits that she planned on wearing it with to show me. She also suggested that GardeningneighborEllen might be a tad jealous of it and I agreed. Today I'll wind the sweetpea socks that rock yarn and whip up another traveling woman. Ellen looks good in black an white.

Yarnhog kindly returned the book that accidentally found its way to her house and included one of her duplicate purchases. It's definitely a read that I'll be interested in and would not have purchased for myself. There are advantages to forgetfulness.

I can't bring myself to get out the spinning wheel (though today would be the perfect day.) The last time I used it was with relative success but I think I was traumatized early on by the flywheel perpetually flying across the living room floor. It's the only feeling I can remember when I think of spinning.

No clever recap here- just another day in the summer.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sesame Street

actually... Sesame driveway after I dropped an $8 bottle of sesame oil on the way home today.

After reluctantly replacing it I tried the chicken lo mein recipe from this book- Saving Dinner by the FlyLady's friend, Leanne Ely.

The recipe makes much more than we needed but I didn't "half" everything. Instead of actually shredding cabbage and carrots, I bought the broccoli slaw in a bag in the produce section. It tastes good- it's a little unbalanced- I used half as much chicken, the called for amount of vegetables/sauce and more angel hair pasta. It's edible. (for anyone new to this blog- I post the fact that I've cookedas a small miracle-not as one of those "hey look at and try this recipe" sorts of blogs.)

There's a baked rigatoni recipe in this book that's good as well. It's really balanced in the beef/fish/poultry/pork/vegetable- I would probably would use more of these recipes if I could convince Mr. Sophanne to eat fish, and vegetables.

Speaking of Mr. Sophanne, he cracks me up. Every morning around 5:45 am when he's leaving for work he wakes me up to give me a phone message (sort of the opposite of snow day calls.)

Wake up honey, school called. You have to go to work today.
Wake up honey, your principal called, it's take your dog to work day.
Wake up honey, your mother called. She said the school called her and said you have to go to work.
Wake up honey, the school called. You have to go on a field trip today. You're going to the doctor's office.

Oy he makes me LAUGH and LAUGH! (Seriously- he really does- much to the surprise of knitnightmarc who wondered when I was gonna slug him!)

Sunday, June 27, 2010


That's what the summer 2010 tour of Wizard Rock is called. The artists info page is here. We saw everyone on this page in an acoustic setting at the front of the library. They had mostly tuned guitars and about 35 fans in attendance. The crowd favorite seemed to be ALL CAPS who used pre-recorded techno-pop dance party background music for their "set."

There were no real costumes in the audience per se but one parent drove 6 teenage girls (ages 12-16) 5 hours in this van to get there.

The songs, in addition to being Harry Potter based, occasionally had a message of acceptance and "let's all just be kind to each other no matter who we are" feel to them.

There were a couple of Wizard Rock Loving grown ups that I found to be a little creepy. Sadly one was a parent from my school who got a baby-sitter for her daughter so that she could come. Another was a 60-something woman I didn't know who had a temporary Hogwarts tattoo on her face and was bouncing around dance-party style with the crowd.

The fans knew the lyrics better than the artists and there was the occasional mention of the "merch table." The performers ranged in age from about 20-24. I've got to think that their parents (at least some of them) said "You're doing WHAT? this summer?"

MaggieMay and Drewby seemed to enjoy themselves. Eleven year old Drewby's post-concert facebook entry read:

Awesomest Day EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This Day made my whole year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :))))))))))))

MaggieMay tweeted some pictures to the band and got a personal reply- the performers seemed really sincere, kind and unassuming.

I'm calling it a success.

In unrelated crack me up news, Mr. Sophanne accidentally threw "the duck" in the tree and Liza was not amused.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

and then there are these..

The counting got away from me at the end of the first one- the frosting tip got away from me at the beginning of the second one. So glad that wasn't reversed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Prune Much?

Not so much.

I felt a little world weary at the end of my "day off." Sort of pointless and useless as it were. To combat a repeat of that feeling I thought I'd spend some time outdoors trimming forsythia and lilac bushes. It has been some time since these have been attended to never.

This (neither a forsythia nor a lilac) specimen gave me pause for thought

In addition to mixing bowls (which we now have) I'm thinking some sort of wheelbarrow would have been useful for carrying refuse today. Fortunately Mr. Sophanne doesn't consider a wheelbarrow "clutter" and in fact would be all in favor of a tractor with a thingy to haul stuff at the back of it. (Just as long as we don't have to store it in the kitchen.) In the meantime I managed to get it out of the way with no injuries.

Liza's favorite game is to grab a branch and run, hoping beyond hope that I will say the magic words "GIVE ME THAT STICK!" which causes her to run in circles with abandon.

Finally a sneak peek at the "garden" (can I really call it that?) revealed that a spider appreciates the textures

and the sage posed nicely for a photo-op

Tomorrow, my friends, might have RBP (real blogging potential.) As I have mentioned before, MaggieMay loves Harry Potter- perhaps a little more than a soon to be high school sophomore really should- but whatever. Wizard Rock is alive and well in the University City. I am taking Mags and younger sister Drewbee to a Wizard Rock show at the local library. I can only hope that there will be costumes and I won't have camnesia.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Catchup-Catsup-Ketchup Day

Today was a day off. Thunderstorms- dog in the closet-sleep past noon kind of day.

Chart One and Two of the Queen Anne's Lace are finished. This would actually be spectacular if this item were a simple stole or a wrap. Given that there are about 75 more rows to go and every other row adds about 30 stitches, I'm thinking I can call it halfway finished when I get to 140 or so.

The deep purple-y silk is in the process of becoming a Forest Canopy Shawl. I had forgotten the simplicity of that pattern. I think it will be a nice fiber/pattern mix.

The plants were pleased with the rain and are looking like they belong there each day.

And if you have 22 minutes and 16 seconds like I do today, there's always this...Vitameatavegamin. I think Lucy is darning a sock at the beginning.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

it's a start...

The plant before the oregano is some kind of flowering garden plant/bush that I forget the name of that came from neighborMarilyn. The oregano, chives and sage came from MountainMama. The dill lemon balm and lavender also came from neighbor Mariliyn. The small fonted diagonal is pointing to a purple herb that she says is Japanese but that she doesn't know the name of. She aslo is searching her beautiful space for a moon flower to transfer. I don't want to add too much until I get the names of things in my head.

We had a nice thunderstorm this morning (I put most of these in the ground last night)- Liza found refuge in a closet. Today I believe I will go forth in search of MiracleGrow potting soil, a little mulch, and some mixing bowls.

Though- when I told Mr. Sophanne I was going to get mixing bowls he complained that "just because you made ONE cake doesn't mean we need mixing bowls." I said "I'd like to do it again without having to use cooking pots!" Every now and then he just doesn't get it.

Updated to add-

Here's what a little potting soil, mulch and 2 roma tomato plants will do. There's something in the mulch that got Liza's attention. What cracks me up is that I met both GardeningNeighborMarilyn and GardeningNeighborEllen buying potting soil and mulch.

and as long as we're adding- some silk came in the mail today and it is as luscious and shiny as it appears!

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'd have baked a green blob...... Part Two of Two

BWAH HAH HA HA! I'm not much of a froster after all. The cake was plenty cool. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that buttercream frosting doesn't take too kindly to heat and humidity. I'm going to pretend that it will all firm up in the refrigerator. I'm going to pretend that it looks like polka dots.

I crack me up.

In further buttercream news, the wool peddler's shawl (in Malabrigo Buttercream) is finished.

If I'd known you were coming... Part One of Two

disaster averted... so far.

I've had this book for three years.

I bought it with a gift card because when it says "Sedaris" you usually can't go wrong. In addition to being ridiculously funny, it is full of recipes. Up until today I've never made any. This morning I made a white cake from scratch. GO ME!

Inspired by Amy's whimsical fancy, in addition to the regular ingredients, hiding in the back, there is food coloring for the buttercream frosting and a can of "ready to decorate" frosting with decorator tips.

When/if this cake is consumed, we will have eaten two full sticks of butter. All natural butter though

For all of my lack of direction following and cooking skills, somehow, somewhere, I learned to separate eggs. How did that happen? All three on the first try.

What I did not realize was that House of Sophanne lacks anything resembling a mixing bowl. First I tried this

and some vision in my past of my mother with chocolate cake flinging it's way across the kitchen came to mind. No mixing bowls? Time to improvise.

While I have no concrete recollection of cake-making in our house (except for the chocolate one), I must have learned something from my mother. I instinctively knew how to grease and flour the pan, checked to see if it was done by putting a butter knife in it and seeing that it came out clean, and when the cakes came out of the oven for cooling, I went straight to the dinner plate, put it over the cake pan and turned it upside down.

As the cakes were baking, I did some blog reading and found that Kristen says "save your egg whites and make meringue." That was a little ambitious for me and Liza was a little miffed at not getting to lick the sugary-buttery bowl. So instead-

I can't begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to making and coloring the frosting. And while a stranger to this blog might scoff at the simpleness of this post- you, my regular readers, understand the mountain I have scaled!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


So I've just finished reading this book:

Stuff- Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things Randy Frost

and while I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that I'm not a compulsive hoarder, I do live a more cluttered life than some and there were many points in the read which resonated with me.

One of the clients in the study says If I put my clothes in the drawers, I won't be able to see them and I'll forget I have them. The author expounds This dependence on the visual connection with objects is a common trait among hoarders.

This is Reason Number One that my life is so cluttered. It's especially true of clothes. I regularly leave my clean clothes stacked on the dryer rather than put them away. In this case, laziness is not the issue. Mr. Sophanne's clothes are regularly washed, dried and put away. If the clothes in whatever cycle I'm wearing are out in the laundry room, I know their status. When they go in the closet, they disappear.

It's also true of yarn and books. I want to see what I have. What I've noticed lately is that in spite of being in full sight, these items, once grouped together become and organic whole rather than individual items. Do I really think I have to remember everything I have? Do I really need to? Given the latest duplicate book buying episode, I'm thinking, YES! but is that realistic?

Another point made by the author is ...that possessions allow the owner to do or accomplish something.

I've got a nice collection of art supplies- water color paper, brushes, paints, gesso, the works. These, along with various other art supplies take up a 2-drawer filing cabinet in my stash room. They were purchased after a great workshop at the Andy Warhol Museum. I used them that summer and have gotten them out once or twice since. I've created a couple of things that I love by accident. Mostly for the past 5 years since then they sit in the drawer representing unlimited potential and me as an "artist." One of the reasons people hoard is based on the potential of objects. There is a lot of potential in my room.

It was suggested in the book that maybe hoarding is creativity run amok. You can see so many possibilities in the yarn, in the small boxes, in the ribbon, paper, colors. It's overwhelming. This I believe is profound. I have used the Saturday Night Live skit from the 90's with the tag line That's another one of those things I'm never going to do as a personal mantra at flea markets.

Another idea from the book one young girl believed that her toys would die or feel betrayed if given away or discarded and anthropomorphizing-ascribing feelings to an inanimate object is not uncommon among hoarders

When I was around 9 I had a bed full of stuffed animals. I think at the time I believed I was being philanthropic by giving all but a few of them away. What I believe now, looking back, was that I felt badly that I liked some better than others and felt the need to give the others "better homes." One example in the book was of a woman who felt badly for the yogurt container in the garbage- that maybe she should have washed it out to make it more comfortable. Thankfully, I'm not there yet.

Then there's the "magical thinking." As in "I wore this when I was young and beautiful and happy- I must keep it so that I can have that feeling again." I go through a sine wave of this experience- keeping these things until there are more things in my closet that I can't wear than things that I can.

The book only lightly touched on the accumulation of digital data- I won't really go there but will only say that I do have an external hardrive of 100G that is 80% full. Last month I seriously considered purchasing a second external hard drive to back up the first one. This is thanks to a perpetual fear of loss.

It was an interesting read- I may be able to throw out some professional magazines and clarinet music from college that I'll never use again.... or maybe not.

The main deliniation as to whether collecting and keeping is hoarding or not is determined by quality of life. As I do not yet have "goat paths" that I must negotiate through my stuff, I'm feeling pretty secure. I can also throw things away with relative ease. But I do believe I'll keep an eye on things, for the line between creativity and madness is surely a fine one.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer 2010 Rant #1

Phone rings


This is blahdohblah from blahdohbas INDEPENDENT survey company. Will you take a poll regarding the 2010 election in the state of Pennsylvania?

Who's paying for this survey?

I just work for this independent company


Benign questions continue for about 5 minutes. Are you going to vote? Are you likely to vote for A or B? What's the biggest issue in your area? Then...

Will the fact that candidate A kicks his dog, steals from his kids, and doesn't change his underwear alter the way you decide to vote?



Extra free time means playing on Ravelry. I had favorited this this Queen Annes Lace pattern on more than one occasion.

Accidentally looking through the stash I found about 1600 yds of malabrigo laceweight baby merino.

And so now there is this.

Beginning with 8 stitches of laceweight yarn on size 7 dpns and getting past the first 5 rows was absolutely a Force Of Will. I had the same mental state as I did 2 winters ago when I was determined "I WILL NOT GET STUCK IN THIS DITCH" (and didn't.) Now past that point and onto a circular, this is WAY fun. The row repeats are easy so far. There have been a few mistakes but I'm thinking if I'm 95% accurate I can live with it. I either skip a k2tog or add a stitch as needed and that's only happened twice.

The search for things to plant in the dirt may have to wait until next week. I think I'll be knitting today.

Last night's Hamburger Helper experiment was a success. I used ground meat, taco seasoning mix, cavatelli, milk, water, cheddar cheese, cornstarch and stewed tomatoes. The recipe came from the blog- chickensintheroad. I could have easily skipped the taco seasoning mix and tried it with chili powder and paprika but that was just on the "little bit too much risk" side of life.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Could there be more "I"'s in this post?

Today I visited the Babybabies. They look much more like babies these days. CUTEDORABLE!

I had a peanutbuster parfait (DQ seems to be the theme of the summer) for lunch with the mama.

I learned of a dog more afraid of thunder than LizaJane. Poor Roxie-dog chewed her way through a garage door trying to get inside away from the thunder. Bloody scary scene (even after the initial clean-up) but dog's o.k. and now has sedatives. (makes me think of Young Frankenstein seda- give? seda give?) Seriously- the clean up guy should get a sedagive.

I shared some life story and recovery from life story with good friends. It's nice to know when you're not alone in the world.

I played in the sand and looked at the garden of Big Brother of Babybabies. There is not a cuter kid on the planet. Here he is fishing. Mountainmama mama has the picture on her blog so I'm pretty sure it's ok to put it here.

I came home with some sage, oregano and chives to plant in the dirt, which I promptly did. Friday is the designated look for stuff to plant in the dirt day

When I got home Mr. Sophanne had string fries and burgers a cookin'.

Tomorrow is a hospital visit to the recently new-kneed secretary from our school and then lunch with my "spitting her food out laughing" lunchtime friend. For dinner I found a recipe for "homemade" hamburger helper so we'll just see how that turns out. I'll wait to post that link until I find out if it works!

I'm on the last rows of wool peddlar the two- thanks to knitnightjudy who said "Eight rows and a bind off? You better start now-that bind off is going to take some yarn." I'm going to predict that she has saved me much grief and indecision.

Life is good. I love summer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I have no title- it's just a mishmash

Summer vacation is in full swing. Today I went to school. Heh heh. A beloved custodian was secretly retiring (or attempting to keep it secret) and I was recruited (gladly) to deliver KFC and a DQ cake. Work would be so much easier if it only involved eating lunch with your friends daily. It's what I miss most in the summer.

I've made dinner once. (Spanish Rice with Chicken) It tasted good but then Mr. Sophanne requested some Hamburger Helper this week. He won't eat macaroni and cheese because it reminds him what it was like to be poor but he's all in favor of Hamburger Helper. I've been reading Kristen's blog about responsible eating. Living in southwestern PA (and being too chicken to drive much to Pittsburgh) makes really difficult to make any big changes but I have been thinking about the ingredients in my food. I'm pretty sure hamburger helper doesn't make the grade (is there in fact a more "natural ingredient" way to make hamburger helper?) I'll serve some freshly steamed vegetables with it.

I've been to the gym 2 days (not counting the weekend heh heh) in a row and walked 2.75 miles each time. According to the counter on the treadmill that should negate the calories in part of one of the Hostess apple pies that always seem to be tempting me. (the words on those pies are too small- I can't know the ingredients- I'll assume they're all very healthy.)

I finished the Traveling Woman shawl making it 5 down and 5 to go. I'm one skein of Elsbeth Lavold Silky wool into a second Brandywine. I love that pattern.

I mailed what I thought was "Knitted Lace of Estonia" to Yarnhog only to find it on the dining room table when I returned from the post office. I am such a dork.

And while perusing the estate this evening, we found this abandoned piece of architecture- apparently it's a Mr. Sophanne wishing nest

Extra Life and Monkeys- a dream come true.

I don't know what will happen tomorrow- who does? - so I'll plan to do what I end up doing. I'm not sure about the blog template change but I'll try it out for a few days.

Monday, June 07, 2010

It's finally happened.

The nice part about being in the 10 in 2010 group is that when you go visit the group to see if anybody (loves) what you've posted, you browse the rest of them to find the ones that you love.

Seems like every shawl I clicked on for a closer look was from Knitted Lace of Estonia. I noticed this happening last week too. I thought to myself- I'm going to get that book. I stealthily ordered it (and a couple of others)- it was during school hours.

After ordering I looked at the rest of the patterns in the book on Ravelry. Imagine my surprise-there was something there I had already knitted. A scarf named "Raha." Oh, I thought to myself- that must have been published somewhere else.

Magically-thanks to the power of memory loss and too many knitting books to keep track of- the book was at home when I got there. Yes- now I will have two Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia. I'm not sending it back. I'll send it to whoever emails me and says, "hey- I'd like that book." (blts At windstream DOT net) And if nobody wants it, it goes to Yarnhog because I know how much she loves lace knitting! (mwah hah hah hah!)

This Could Be Yours!

(once I get it from Amazon!)
eta-never underestimate the quickness of a Yarnhog- she's the lucky recipient!

Saturday, June 05, 2010


Horrible picture- slightly horrible blocking but I will not get the "does not count no finished picture posted" in the 10 in 2010!

The traveling woman shawl is finished as well (this means I have completed 5 so far- and there's a wool peddlar in malabrigo that has only one skein to go) **

The thing about having multiple projects is that eventually you get near the end of all of them and it's easy to feel quite helpless.

Romi to the rescue. That woman can design. I haven't tried any of her more difficult patterns but I will. when the "pressure to produce" eases.

Right now I have some Plymouth Encore in Christmas red that was intended for a crochet project that didn't pan out. I started LoveSquared at knit night with it. According to the pattern it's a one-panel-three block scarf in fingering weight yarn. I have 3- 200yd skeins of this plymouth. I'm thinking 3 panels and 9 blocks will make quite the heartful comfort shawl!

**No one is more surprised at this than I am- except for maybe Yarnhog! =]