Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And More Of The Same

This might be the part where someone could make a comment about how this week's progress shot looks a lot like last week's progress shot.

But wait! There's more!

OK, not much more...just some.

Consider, if you will, just how much of this work was actually done on a broken circ! much for knitting being a stress reliever--I take it out on the needles.  I snapped a cord this morning and it's being held together by some carefully woven Scotch tape and my utter terror of screwing this thing up. I will be switching to a shorter needle soon. Until then, stubbornness keeps me from buying a new one in this length.

I promise no more pictures of the same dumb lace panel from here on out--next pic, hopefully, she'll be wearing it.

Can Somebody Please Explain The Cats And Can Openers Thing...?

I'm working.
The house is mostly silent.  Kids are home on Spring Break and hanging out three rooms away from me, watching TV, goofing off online, etc.  I've got a cat snoring next to me and the sound of his breathing and my thinking are the only sounds I hear.
Suddenly, Jack jumps up, hops off the love seat and heads for the office door in a very big hurry.  I stand to open it, thinking he must have been having a wet dream or something and I don't want to be the one keeping him from the toilet.
But instead of running to the litter box, he runs to the kitchen...
...where my daughter is just starting to open a can of mandarin oranges.
Not tuna fish, or delicious wet cat food....mandarin oranges. 
Not an electric can opener, either, I might add.  We have an old twister model, because we don't eat a whole lot of food out of cans.
So...what just happened?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not Quite Like Progress

More like five inches of knitted buffoonery.

You didn't know there was such a thing as knitted buffoonery, did you?

Here's me, measuring my daughter's chest size so I can decide what size to make this top:

Me: How big are Punky's boobs?
Punky's Sister: They're freaking HUGE!
Me: I know, right? Oh-mah-gawd...

And so, I cast on approximately 800 million stitches and got started on The Shirt Of Huge Boobness. 

A couple of inches into it, I start thinking "what exactly constitutes 'freaking HUGE', anyway? I mean I know her bra size, but when the nearest pattern size is actually 3 inches larger than that, even allowing for the probability that she'll wear a bra and a tank top under might not be the boobs that are huge, but the shirt.

Luckily, there are plenty of places in this pattern to make huge-ness disappear.  Like everything else in life, we're winging it. I post the completed picture with my kid wearing the top, can you do me a favor and act like we've never had this conversation about her boobs? Thanks--you're a peach.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Any Excuse To Stay In My Jammies

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz  Oh, Sorry--there was a piece of lint stuck between the Z and the shift key.

Come to think of it, the food particles hiding in this keyboard are enough to horrify all but the laziest of housekeepers...funny how I treat my most-used possessions with such disdain.  My car practically has to beg me for an oil change, the computer keyboard crackles under the influence of toast crumbs and it's been years since the vagina was in for maintenance.



Some of that is true.

This week we had St. Patrick's Day, or, Rookie Night at the bar, as we like to call it.  A friend of mine posted some wacky St. Pat's pics on their FB account which consisted of some drunk guys in kilts and some drunk guys mooning the camera to reveal that they were wearing boxer shorts with the word "Irish" written across the ass.  In the background of the the photos (and this is priceless), my father, sitting at the bar, with the "What a couple of idiots" look on his face.  

He received a patent for that look in 1978.

My St. Patrick"s Day celebration was a lot like my Saturday, March 19th at 11:30 in the morning celebration.  Me, at home, thinking, "I should probably take a shower and get out and do something..."

As I understand it, and I am certainly no historian, the only reason I would be considered Irish is because James VI didn't like my bad-ass family stomping around near the northern border of England so he shuffled us out of Scotland and into Northern Ireland, where we continued our "Piss On You ALL!!" battle cry until famine forced us to America, where someone decided that anyone who had ever set foot on the Emerald Isle must consume mass quantities of crappy beer at least once a year.  

We figured that was as good an excuse as any.

Thinking of it now, I wonder if that ancient event sparked my current loathing of "tradition":

King James: You and your people are annoying the hell out of me.  I'm sending you to Ireland.
Clan Kerr:  What?  Fuck that!
King James:  You'll eat the same food and wear the same clothes.
Clan Kerr:  You're not serious!
King James:  Oh, and one more thing--they're Catholic, so behave yourselves.
Clan Kerr:  Catholic?  Bloody hell...

I've been all "don't tell me what to do" my whole life.  Could it be that it's just in the blood?  Even if it isn't, I'm making that my new excuse.

As I am writing this, my 15-year-old is scolding me because I am still wearing pajamas.  Scolding, from the child who usually doesn't see daylight until well past noon on any day in which school is not in session.  Today she's awake, and dressed.  Today.

Don't tell me what to do...I'm pulling the Northern Border Warrior Clan card.

Pajamas for all!  On to battle!

Sure, the "Don't tell me what to do" thing gets me into some uncomfortable situations here and there.  Ever tried to explain to your mom why you don't "do" church, without hurting her feelings?  Tough gig.  And being one of those people who would rather live on the street than accept a hand-out from a certified asshole has led to a few lean times.  

Better hungry than fat with strings attached, I say.

Hopefully I will turn out the way my father did:  70-odd years old, a seat with his name on it at the local watering hole, and allowed to call an idiot an idiot without being lectured by some PC drama-squad.

What else do you really need?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You're Welcome

(Actually, "You're Welcome", provided you are not vegetarian.  If you are vegetarian, please change to "I'm Sorry"...or, try this with TVP or something, and see how it goes...)
Guinness Stew
2 pounds of beef stew meat
Oil for cooking
White Flour
Salt and Pepper
Onion and Garlic
Carrots, Potato, Parsnip (or whatever stew veggies you like), cubed
1-2 Tablespoons tomato paste (because you never use a whole frigging can of it, do you?  So it sits in the fridge and goes to waste.  *sigh*  Buy the tube, instead...)
One bottle/can of Guinness
Toss cubed meat in about a tablespoon of the oil.  Mix 1/4 cup of flour with salt and pepper, then toss beef in the flour mixture to coat.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and add the beef, browning on all sides.  Reduce heat and add diced onion (to taste) and tomato paste.  Cook for three minutes, then add one clove diced garlic, and cook for an additional two minutes.
Remove from heat, and pour contents into a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or your favorite stew-making vessel.  Return the frying pan to the stove and deglaze with about half of the Guiness--scrape the bottom while you stir to get all that pan yumminess!  Add the deglazing liquid and the remaining Guiness into the stew pot with the meat.  Add vegetables, cover and cook 2-3 hours (low and slow!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

If You'd Just Sit Still For A Moment

I'll tell you what turns me into a sniveling blob....secret weapon time.
Here's the thing...I'm somebody's mom, which means that every so often, I get to attend a musical concert in which one or both of my kids is singing, or playing a musical instrument of some kind.  I've been doing this for, gosh, 12 years now, and they've gone from kazoos and recorders to guitars, violins, etc. (and back to kazoos again, but that's another story...). 
And the singing!  Oh, the singing.  Lots of singing.
Through the years, there has been one constant--one thing that occurs at least annually, and turns me into a slobbery gob of emotional goo.  That thing is....Colors Of The Wind.
Colors Of The Wind--that perfect, perfect song by Alan Menken. 
Did you know that if you sit in a stuffy, packed auditorium and listen to 50 kindergarten and first grade kids sing Colors Of The Wind, you forget how pissed you are that you had to park six blocks away and that you broke a heel walking and you were late and some asshole stole your seat so you ended up in the very back row where even there, other parents crowd you with video cameras, trying to catch their little angel in action? 
Did you know that? 
I learned that a dozen years ago..
At least once a year since then, I attend a school concert in which some teacher has chosen Colors Of The Wind as a number to be performed, and, at least once a year, the sound of children singing it touches me so deeply that I cry.  For real.  That's how perfect that song is.  Stephen Schwartz's lyric in combination with children...I dunno, it's like a direct realization of all of the innocence in the room focused like a laser beam to my heart.  It melts everything. 
I thought I was off the hook this year, but last night, there it was on the program..."Music from Pocahontas"  Still, I believed I had a chance to get out of there with my make-up intact--after all, this was a philharmonic singing. 
No little innocent children voices urging me to be more at-one with nature.
Yeah...that didn't really last long past the introduction....
Damn you Alan Menken!  Damn it!
How do you do that?
How do you erase the pissiest of moods?  How do you turn, "I can't believe I have to go to another one of these damn things," into "Oh-my-precious-baby-I-can't-believe-she's-almost-grown-up? *SOB* "
How do you do that?
Anyway, now you know.  Now you know my one true weakness.  I trust you'll use your new power for good and not evil.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And On To The Next

Woodland Winter Mittens (December version) done, and now, in my ongoing protest of the weather, I'm going completely in the other direction--hello Summer top! Ooooo...cotton.

I'd just like to say once again what an awesome kit this (the Mittens, I mean).  Knit Picks released it, promptly sold out of it (I think I squeaked in my order a whole two days before they announced they were all gone, so I got lucky...) and a lot of people were left wanting it. With any luck, they will offer it again.

This project bugged the living hell out of me, so any "real" knitter would probably love it.  I may cast on for another pair (doing the January pair next, I think) but it will definitely be a back seat project and may actually take until January to complete. As always, your mileage may vary...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Who Would Try To Write A Blog In 15 Minutes?

But it's bullet points, so I'm sure you purists are going to whine.
  • I just....need to talk about stupid pumpkin spice scented candles.  Why am I always fooled into thinking that they'll smell nice?  Has anyone ever had a pumpkin spice scented candle that didn't smell like the charred remains of a jack-o-lantern on the morning of November 1st?  Because I have not.
  • I started working from home this week, and while I still have regular office hours, the fact that my "office" is near a huge window in my home as opposed to somewhere deep in the fluorescent jungle has made the idea of being chained to a desk for 8 hours a day significantly more palatable.  Just the click of me typing, and the sound of cats snoring, instead of the din of Annoying Laugh Lady, People Making Small Talk About Weather/Sports, People Getting Way Too Animated About Politics, People Coming Around Looking For Candy and/or Donuts, etc, etc.  Bliss
  • One thing I must say, being at home with the children (read: cats) all day is that anyone who claims not to like cats is just a jerk.  I mean, sure, they're assholes sometimes, but...what's better than a cat in your house?  They're like living sculptures when sleeping, and fuzzy love-sponges when awake.
  • I was photographing a mitten (see WIP, below) in it's finally-finished state when the door bell rang.  It was the mail lady, with a box of yarn in tow.  Perfect timing.
  • I bought myself a box of samples of ridiculously expensive perfumes, with the logic being that I would try them all out just to see which ones I love and which ones I would not be buying in full size, and wouldn't you just know that I love them ALL?  Damn it!  Then again, comparing any of them to the smell of a gnarly pumpkin spice scented candle is entirely unfair.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

OK, So...Funny Story, In A Lame-O Sort Of Way

I have this work in progess, which you can see is a pair of mittens with a lovely mountain scene across the front, all stitched in teeny yarn, several colors, etc.

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I was attempting to knit both the right and left mit at the same time, because that's what you do when you're crazy-but-productive-in-your-head.

Somehere around that mountain top, I noticed that I had skipped several rows of the pattern on the right hand, so as you see it, I had to remove it from the suddenly-less-than-magical Magic Loop set up and trudge forth (or backwards, in this case...) one at a time, on dpn's.

My comfort level has gone up considerably, all of a sudden! Whew! No gigantic circular needle mess. Now here's hoping "second mitten syndrome" stays away long enough to power through...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Doing A Thing

Project alert!  Gonna do this thing, from the most recent VK, only in blue, not rose.

Honestly, I loved the color and immediately thought of Punky, who wears this color often, but when I asked her to point at a ball of yarn on a page, she went with Knit Picks CotLin in "Surf"--go here to see what that looks like.

One thing?  I'm soooo ditching the gnarly jute straps....scratchy!  It'll just be more Surf.  Surf, Surf, Surf, Surf, Surf. 

Also?  Perhaps Winter will one day end, and she'll be able to wear this fine garment.  It could happen.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wake Me Up When September Ends

So, I have this blog visitor who keeps reading the archive from September, 2008. 
Same dumb month, again and again. 
Me being me, I have, of course, poured over that archive 600 times to ensure there is nothing awful, or anything for which I may be sued, that I wrote about that month...and other than the usual it's-only-funny-for-about-ninety-seconds humor, and semi-lame attempts at deep thinking, it's not terribly embarrassing.
What an entire lifetime ago that was!  So bizarre.  The month started with me working a temp job at an insurance company (a company that laid off ALL of their temps about 2 weeks after I left there, by the way, so, Yay me for leaving...), continued through some election commentary and a couple of drunken nights out, then ended with me looking back at how far I've come....kinda like I'm doing right now.
I'm a one-trick pony if ever there was one.
I make a lot of statements indicating that I might know a thing or two, or that I may have figured something out.  I don't, and I haven't.  Not really.  Like everyone else in the world, the older I get and the more I see, the less I know.  Ask me about the things I was so sure of back in September 2008.  Most of those things are no longer true.
In September 2008, I wrote this line:  "Desire…what a wonderful and terrible thing. To want something so badly that you refuse to believe it can never be. It makes you see things that are not there."  And this: "I know tomorrow I will be less sad, and the next day, even less. Eventually, it will feel as if it never affected me. Ever the clown."  I stand corrected:  As it happens, both of those things ARE true. 
That is not to say that September 2008 was any better than March 2011, just that two and a half years later, I can apparently reach the same conclusion without having to cry my eyes out, first.  Is this progress, or was I more interesting as a complete wreck?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Uh, Hello?

Would somebody like to explain to me why this image...
...was used in an advert on Facebook for women to get Pell Grants and other scholarships to further their education?

Are we saying that if you complete school, one day, if you work really hard, you can become a stripper?


Are we saying that, if you're currently a stripper, you can qualify for a Pell Grant?


Get an education so one day you, too, can sit bare-ass naked inside a giant margarita glass?


If you go to college and get smart, perhaps you'll be able to afford very large drinks?

Anyone?  Anyone?