Thursday, December 29, 2011

PSA number Seven (or eight)

Daughter of Sophanne gave us two great books as gifts- Food Rules- an eater's manual and Little Old Lady Recipes.

Both are funny and informative. They crack me up.

My favorite rule so far has been "Eat all the Junk Food you Want as long as You Cook it Yourself." I told husband about this and he said, "I suppose there will be an ice cream churner in our future." I'm not ready for that but I did splurge on an air pop popcorn maker.

PSA number seven or eight is this- if you have grown accustomed to the convenience and "luxury" of microwave popcorn, do yourself a favor. 1. Go to the box store. 2. Spend $20 on an air popper and $1.73 on a bag of kernels. 3. Melt a teaspoon of butter. 4. Air pop yourself some goodness- salting as desired.

You will then remember (or discover if you're that much younger than I am) what real popcorn tastes like. And compared to the six microwave bags you get for $6- you'll be saving money like crazy. In fact- you might even MAKE money!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Contemplating the travel options

We leave the west coast at 11:30 pm this evening and arrive on the east coast at 7:30 am tomorrow morning.

You get 2 seconds to guess which illness has invaded my body. Time's up. Why yes, it's holiday strep time again. I'm ignoring the rash at my armpit and pretending that it's not scarlet fever.

This got me to thinking about pictures I've seen in Japanese cities where many wear face masks to prevent the spreading of germs. I wonder if said face mask would do me any good in scoring some priority seating on the plane.

I realized a mask would be pretty obvious so I suggested to mr. Sophanne that we get hazmat suits and see if we couldn't at least get bumped up to first class. Recognizing the discomfort we might endure in those suits for six hours, we're off to but matching t-shirts that say "my leprosy is in remission."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hats in Action

Details later (but maybe not because sometimes a picture is all you need.)

Not only did the hats fit-everyone loved them in just the way I was hoping for. What a present for me!

Also there is a flight attendant based in Seattle who is now sporting a chocolate/orange colored Clockwork (Stephen West) because there are some knits that you know will look better on someone else. You never got to see a picture of it but if you find yourself on the flight from San Francisco to Seattle you might see a beautiful mocha colored African American flight attendant wearing it. And redsilvia, I thought of you when I gave it to her!

Friday, December 23, 2011


The total count is eleven hats in twelve days. Mr. Sophanne and I will be wearing some sort of hat not necessarily knit for this occasion. Melissa- if you're reading this- surprise! (not so much.)

I suggested to Mr. Sophanne that if the recipients didn't care for them or want to hang on to them, I could find a charity to send them to. He said, "they will wear these hats and like them at least until we leave. Then I don't care." He doesn't really mean it but it was a sort of "I've got your back" statement knowing what it took to get them done.

If it isn't obvious by now, we are traveling to the west coast for a few days in the coming week. Fly in, visit, visit, visit, fly out.

It's a surprise to the grandkids- Mr. Sophanne is beside himself happy about it-there's a new grandbaby he hasn't met yet.

Now I've got to do laundry and prepare for travel. Oy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

better picture

I had to blog a better picture of Tara's greatness. Click and embiggen- seriously worth it! Also ignore the "must knot hats" of the previous post. Must knit hats... but I'm sure you realized it.

Just for one more moment of overwhelmingness- I have a Christmas cactus that bloomed. In front of it- a stocking ornament made for a friend. Behind it- Mr. Sophanne's zombiemonkey card.

But wait, there's more!

Justine brought these cookies ala Martha 5tewart last week.

Ruth made this cream cheese/cheese ball snow/igloo/penguin scene for a (non-knitting) gathering last week. Penguins are olives, cream cheese and carrots. I didn't see it live which is probably a good thing as I would have collapsed from cuteness. Some of the penguins are talking to each other. They are posed as it were.

Ruth and Gina wove in the ends to NINE hats! I won't be weaving in ends on the plane! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

What an awesome knit night- I feel unworthy of all the brilliance surrounding me. It's a good thing sometimes I make them laugh.

Tara is crazy awesome.

At knit night. Stop. Must knot hats. Stop. Tara made these stop. Crazy amazing. Stop.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I miss you.

Seven and a half hats are finished. Three and a half must finish hats to go. This total doesn't include a new and somewhat matchy matchy hat for the Mr. And I. If systems fail, we'll wear hats that were not made special for this occasion. There are several about.

I've been keeping track of bloggy things to photograph and tell you, so fear not. I shall return 13 (or maybe eleven) hats stronger.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fool's mission

13 hats in 12 days. Two (the largest and the smallest) are done. Five of the remaining 11 are smalls. It's just enough of a challenge to keep life interesting. And because it's related to Mr. Sophanne's family, I may be relieved of household chores as I knit my fingers to the bones!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

First complaint.

While this shouldn't surprise me, it still just does.

You may recall- it's all spirituals all the time for the program at school. In fact you may recall the formerly jewish buddhist singing african american song joke from an earlier post.

The complaint was not based on religion in the schools (as one might expect and really- I SHOULD be getting.) Instead someone is upset because we're doing all of those "nigra" songs.

Has anyone noticed it's full moon time again?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Show, Place, Win- the knit night version

In response to their great kindnesses on my birthday, I've been doing some knitting for the knit night friends.

First, the show- I made a "kerchief cowl" I found on Ravelry- it's marked on my page-sophanne. Sadly the yarn choice made it initially look like a neckbrace (some kind of thick llama something- in my rav stash). Justine was able to look like a cowboy and later, Cinderella. She was a gracious gift receiver. There are just some people you can give awkward knits to, knowing they'll find the humor in them. Justine is one of them.

The "place" was for kktara- it's the Effie Beret- also on my rav- done in stitchjones worsted. It's hard to see the details of the pattern (a k1p1 band and a k1p2 crown) but maroon suits her and she doesn't appear to have sustained dire neck injuries when she puts it on.

Finally- the win- was not done by me. I repeat- I can not take credit for this little piece of cute awesomeness- otherwise known as a gift that starts with the letter "s" and is under $5. Knitknightmarc crocheted this this awesome kleenex box cover- the picture is dark but trust me when I say awesome. I told him it needed a plastic cover like people used to put on their furniture to keep it clean until company comes. Then I could make one and use it at school.

There were lots of blue/green hues on the needles at knit night- something I just notice. Also there were more people there than usual. The warmth of friends made driving in the dark and stormy night worth it!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

down the rabbit hole

So, I'm thinking of rewriting the little description at the top of the blog. Instead of having it say

because not everyone here really cares- OR- Where but in the knitting of an intermediate novice (see side bar)can you find such great hope in the next finished object?


relatively rational knitting with confidence and aplomb and delusional cooking with fear and trepidation

Knitting first-

I've accepted the fact that the Tangled Yoke Cardigan (circa 2007) is never going to be completed. I gave the pattern a good look over last night, thinking that surely by now I have the skills to pull off the yoke. Then I frogged the whole thing. I have never felt better about frogging a knitted item in my life. It's been taunting me for almost 5 years. Taunt no more. I still have to frog the sleeves

Barbara Walker- Top Down Knitting- Madeline Tosh- Here's what this is so far.

Imagine my surprise when I read redsilvia's post on her Hello 80's socks. Talk about matchy matchy. The off-white cuts into the whole 80's deal a little bit but clearly the Classic Rock Hits haven't left my psyche yet.

This is going to be a v-neck cardigan. I've just finished the V, am almost done with the front and will be separating for sleeves in about 10 rows. And yes, now that you ask, I will be taking it off the size 4 needles and trying it on before moving ahead (I've done it once already) because I am a relatively rational knitter (I have a big old pile of ill-fitting sweaters to prove it.)

And now the rabbit hole.

One of my favorite iPad apps is the one connected to the site While doing some insomnia cruising I found this recipe for Hearty Vegan Slow Cooker Chili.

Mr. Sophanne eats meat with his meat. Sometimes sauce but mostly meat. He's been paying attention to his health a little bit lately so I decided "what better time to throw some vegetables his way."

I'm pretty sure I could write a crack me up blog post about the whole experience but it might take too long to read and I hate it when blog posts are too long. Suffice it to say that I had taken a day off after a really grueling school day and had intended to have a zen-like, mindful cooking experience with plenty of time to relax and cook with ease. Below are the highlights on my way to chili. Any one would have been fine- there's nothing exceptional about them but when cooking delusionaly with fear and trepidation, they are bound to happen to me all at once.

1. Buy ingredients. What, no yellow squash or zucchini? That's o.k. I'll channel the daughter of Mr. Sophanne (and call her to double check my choices) and buy butternut squash and a rutabaga.

2. Prepare the vegetables. Cut the peppers (red, green and yellow) Zen started and ended with these peppers. Instead of standing uncomfortably, I sat at the table and made perfect little squares. I am GOOD at cutting peppers.

3. Cut the onion. Now I know why people stand when they cut onions. I didn't make it to the second one because I felt like a pepper-sprayed Occupy Wall Street victim.

4. Brown the above in olive oil before putting in the crockpot. Oops. Also supposed to brown the chopped garlic. Yea, o.k., no biggie. I'll added it unbrowned. This I know will be fine.

5.Call the daughter in law for guidance on the squash and the rutabaga. "good choices" says she.

6. Prepare the Butternut Squash. (much later in the evening I YouTubed a video to see how the rest of the world does this) Nearly slice two different fingers off using different "techniques" to separate said squash from it's protective covering. I should have practiced peeling rocks first. What took Our Lady of Vegetable 5 minutes to do on You Tube took about 25 minutes at House of Sophanne. I am no longer mindfully cooking but instead, hacking and whacking at vegetables. An episode from Criminal Minds comes to mind.

7.Combine in the crockpot with previous ingredients. Oh *&@**#" I forgot to slice the mushrooms ahead of time. @@*#ing mushrooms. Hack, slice, drop.

8. This &$(@ isn't going to FIT in the crockpot no matter how small you slice it!I still have three G#$ D$#* cans of beans, tomatoes, and liquid to PUT IN!!!! Here I debate running to the store for a bigger crockpot- stupid. Instead I decreased the amount of squash and rutabaga. Upon examining the recipe reviews later, I find that others had the same trouble and found quick and easy solutions.

9. Rinse the beans (white northern and black beans...who needs those #$)%**(# kidney beans anyway-it's not going to fit) RINSE THE BEANS??? It's going to FAIL anyway. I'll run some water over them in the can and call it done.

10. Add 12 oz of tomato paste. Feeling clever, I remembered Mom of sophanne opening both ends of a tomato paste can and pushing the lid through to be sure to get all of the can's contents into the mix.

11. What I failed to remember was the giant lengthwise gash in her thumb from scraping at the edge of the can.

12. Bleed for 20 minutes, wondering if I need stitches, grateful that I wasn't on blood thinners and trying to get the rest of the ingredients in. I can't stop now- I'm on a mission.

13. Open the tomato sauce to be added. The opener, once working with ease, refuses to cooperate. I find another and have a half-a$$ed open can. Just before I stick my hand into the sharp metal I realize that a fork will do the trick just as well.

14. Attempt to open the box of vegetable broth. The pull-tab fails and I stab the opening with a knife. THAT WILL TEACH YOU BOX!!!

15. Mix it all together, naturally spilling much of the contents out of the overflowing crock.

16. Return contents to crock, set on low, cook for 7 hours.

Mr. Sophanne (who sometimes scoffs at my cooking attempts) comes home, compliments the good smells, takes a peek and says, "what meat is in it?

In the end, it tastes good. It's a good recipe. Things failed to remain mindful and zenlike after step two. When I first learned to knit, I knew that by doing so I would have to become more mindful and patient to be successful. If I manage to transfer those skills to cooking, I may be eligible for domestic sainthood.