Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's a Festivus Miracle!

Yesterday I came home and there was a package in my mailbox. A very big package! A very big package from the lovely Magatha. =)
I can't even take it all in, there was so much good stuff! An adorable floral knitting-gear bag by messie-crafty. Two row counters, little heart shaped stitch markers (heart shaped!!! I didn't even know they made heart shaped stitch markers!), and beautiful pink Opal yarn.
There were also two books, one sci-fi novel The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin and a fantastic resource - The Bantam Step by Step Book of Needle Craft. I haven't started the novel yet, but I've started looking through the craft book. It's fantastic, there are instructions for knitting, crochet, tatting (my grandma was an accomplished tatter, and I've always wanted to learn), along with embroidery, quilting, and even garment sewing.

This page has a 'recipe' for knitting mittens and gloves with options for fingers or fingerless gloves & mitts. There's a section on common lace patterns, cable patterns, all kinds of practical instructions.
But along with all that wonderful practical information, you know there had to be fug. Oh beautiful glorious fug. I'm sure these were oh so hip and stylin' back in 1979.

This just reaffirms my love of very simple, plain, bland knits.
And reaffirming the adage that good things come in small packages... my very favorite things in the package were these gorgeous pink bead stitch markers.
And the ever thoughtful Mag even sent a little something for Sally.

She thoroughly enjoyed the packing paper! Thank you so much!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Long & Short of it

I think I've answered the question of what I would do if I didn't have to work... I'd knit all day long! Well, that and shop... and occasionally bake, but mostly I'd knit. I got a lot done on Mr. Greenjeans, and as I commented to Babbling Stacey, one of the advantages of being short is that I don't have to knit my sweaters as long, so the main part of the body is done (there will be some ribbing to finish the front).
Ignore the little purple yarns hanging out - they're holding the sleeve stitches.

Check it out!! I swear I'm going to do waist shaping for all of the sweaters I make from now on! And see if you can spot the cable that I screwed up on. I'll bet you can't, because I read Seidling's cable surgery post and used her technique to repair it after I found it. It's not a perfect fix... but good enough that I have to really look for it to find it myself. Yay.

I did eventually hit the after Thanksgiving Day sale and picked up several much-need pairs of pants. A couple pairs of jeans, some cords and dress slacks. But here is one of the biggest disadvangates of being short. I laid a pair of properly tailored pants on top of the pants I just bought.

As you can see, I need to do some hemming. Some of the pants will need as much as 6 inches taken off. =( I'll take the dress pants and maybe the jeans to a tailor... but the rest I'll do myself. Le sigh....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What day is it?

Ok, I've already had two days off.... so I'm all confused ... but I think... yup, it might just be...


Here's a rare action shot of Sally playing with her Turbo Scratcher. She loves this thing (almost as much as J. does)! She'll tear through the cardboard scratching part every couple of months. Fortunately they sell the cardboard refills in two packs, and I can flip it over for a fresh side.

Ok - cute story: When I lived in Washington, I think she spent most of her time in the back bedroom while I was at work. But when she heard me open the door at the end of the day, she'd run first to her scratching pad, scratch at it excitedly a few times, then run over to meet me at the door. It was so adorable, her little routine. She doesn't do that anymore, but she still like scratching at it. If you don't already have one for your kitty - I highly recommend them.

Happy caturday! =)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mm Mm Mm Mm Mm

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I hope you all feasted well, and had plenty of reasons to be thankful. I had a pretty good Thanksgiving with friends here. Dinner, of course, was awesome. More nummy carbs than you could shake a fork at. Turkey with gravy, stuffing (with dried cherries in it!), smashed potatoes, yams with marshmallows, honey glazed carrots, roasted root veggies, cranberry sauce, lingon berry sauce. Then for dessert (I didn't have any... absolutely no room left!) cranberry crumble with vanilla ice cream. Mm Mm Mm Mm Mm! But even with all those goodies, I couldn't show up at a dinner without baking something special.

I used the recipe for "Rich Man's Brioche" from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Here is my beloved Betty mixing up the dough. This dough is intense, you've been warned. We start with some yeast, salt, sugar, a little water and about four cups of flour. Then add five eggs. Yup... five. We're just getting started. As I've said before, the secret ingredient in any food that tastes really good is butter. Lots and lots of butter. Slowly and surely I added no fewer than 2 cups of butter. Mmmmmmm butter.

This dough is almost more like a cake batter than a bread dough. It feels kinda like Pillsbury crescent rolls dough. Very rich and thick. I put it in the fridge overnight to ferment. Then it was time to shape it. For each one use 2/3 of the dough for the bottom make an indent in the center, then roll the 1/3 of the dough into a tear drop shape, and set it right down in the whole.

These will be petite brioche a tete. Or little bread with a head. I also made a big brioche a tete, and let them all rise for a couple hours. Right before putting them in the oven, I brushed them with egg white... and taking a cue from a brioche at Ken's Artisan bakery, I topped them with just a very light sprinkle of kosher salt and cane sugar for just a touch of sweet and salty crunch.

This one didn't work out as well as I had hoped. As you can see I don't have a fluted brioche pan, so I tried to improvise, but I should have flattened out the bottom round more, and used a smaller amount of dough for the top. It all just kinda spread out and the bottom ended up really dense, the top was good though.

Here are the petite brioche a tete.

Heavenly I tell you. Flaky, buttery, and super yummy. The next time I make brioche, I might try the "Middle Class Brioche" it doesn't have quite as much butter, but it's still enriched, I think it would rise a little better. I'm also thinking about getting a brioche pan because the pan I've been using just isn't working out. And I guess today wouldn't be a bad day to do that.

I thought about getting up early and going shopping today. I've done that before and gotten some really great deals. But dang.. it gets earlier and earlier every year. I just couldn't quite bring myself to get up at 4am. Sally woke me up at around 5am... so I still could have gone early, but I decided what I really wanted was sleep. So I slept in. =)

Oh... and I've been knitting! The cables are fun, and going well.

I keep thinking I'm making really good progress here... and I am. But I still have several inches to go on the body. And then I'll have to do the sleeves! And I won't be able to do them both at the same time like I normally do, so it's going to feel like it's taking a lot longer. Oh well. It'll be done when it's done.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I've been knitting for a few years, but compared to other knitters, I'm extremely slow to adopt new techniques. I only started lace last year, and up until last night I had never tried cables. But as Mr. Greenjeans has cables half way down, I figured I'd better figure it out. ;)

Look how pretty! It was far easier than I had anticipated, I even did cabling without a cable needle... which involves taking stitches completely off the needle! It was kinda scary (in as far as knitting gets scary), but they didn't run, they just hung out there until I got them back on the needle. =)

And here is Mr. Greenjeans... the pattern calls for a few more inches before starting the cables, but I'm going to start them now. I'm also disregarding the pattern's instruction to go down a needle size for this section. So many people have commented that the cable-rib pattern pulls in quite a bit. Since my tummy doesn't pull in... at all... I'm just going to stick with this size 8 needles I used on the top part. It's been coming along really quickly... but I think it's going to be slow going from here on in.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Progress has been made. I didn't accomplish quite as much as I'd hoped... but I think the apartment already looks much much better.

Here's what I have done:

This is the give-away pile, actually I'd already brought two bags full of books to the car when I remembered to take a picture. Never fear... Sally was just supervising, I didn't take her to the Goodwill (was tempted though ;) ).

And here's the entryway / entertainment area. I put away all the shoes and bags, and got rid of a bunch of the video tapes & the stack of magazines I was saving for craft projects.

(That's Nature's Ugliest Creatures on PBS btw.)

The closet looks much much better. I took all my inherited, non-project specific, fabric and put it in a box under my bed. That gave me a little more room on the shelf. I put up the shoe rack to the left of the shelf, it keeps the door from opening all the way, but trust me, all the shoes are very organized. =) Now that the shoes are organized, I have room to put my work bags in here.

I'm not sure if you can tell, but the carpet is much much cleaner too. I vacuumed, scrubbed the high traffic areas and vacuumed it all again. Which of course is the cue for Sally to puke all over the place sometime tonight. Until then though, I'll enjoy the nice clean carpet.

I didn't really do anything with my old computer & desk. And my multifunctional nook has only improved slightly. I put away all the laundry and got rid of the junk papers. But there are still some legitimate papers here... and I still can't bring myself to put away my sewing machine. But that leaves me something to do next weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Oh! My! Gourd!

I am still (sort of) cleaning... but I just had to share a bit of my day.

I'm sure I've mentioned this, but one of the things I love about Portland is the Saturday Farmer's Market on the PSU campus, another thing I love is how people are willing to go out in the rain. So even though it was raining when I woke up, I decided I would go to the Farmer's Market anyway. Now, walking out to the bus stop I did have second thoughts. It wasn't just raining... it was RAINING. Although it rains often here, it usually only drizzles or mists, but this was real rain. By the time I got to the bus stop, my jeans were wet below the knee, and I could hardly see through the rain drops on my glasses. But thanks to the wool hat on my head and sweater beneath my rain jacket, I was still pretty warm.

Soon enough I was down at the market (which was far less busy than normal, although there were still a good number of people there), and I overheard this exchange among a family-type group (you never know who's who these days).

Female parental-type-unit "I told you to tell the girls to wear coats today."

Male parental-type-unit "I did." (at this I glanced over at him in his gore-tex jacket) "I took care of my part."

Female parental-type-unit "She said you just said to dress warm."
Male parental-type-unit "They know it rains here."

Teen girl in non-waterproof hoodie jacket, in typical annoyed teenager tone. "I'm not complaining."

That girl's a native I tell you. ;)

Anyway I did a once around the market and seeing all the winter squashes that were out I decided to try a squash-type soup. I've tried commercially prepared butternut-squash soup before, but I really didn't like it. But last week I had lunch at a friend's house and she made roasted acorn (?) squash, and it was really good, so I figured I'd give it a shot. At one of the booths with a good assortment of squash I asked the vendor if they had a good soup recipe. The woman started telling me what she likes to do, a really simple recipe. I bought a nice small butternut squash and an onion and came home.

Et voila!

I am officially calling this my 'Oh my gourd! Butternut squash soup'. Because as soon as I tasted it that's all I could say (between moans of food-ecstacy that is... and if you've never had food-induced ecstacy, I'm not sure I want you reading my blog =P just kidding... please keep reading my blog).

Here's the 'recipe' as shared by the woman at the market.

Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds. Roast the squash for an hour or so at around 3o0F-350F (I started it too high, then turned it down... and totally wasn't watching the clock - just roast it until it's soft). Cut the squash into chunks... not too big, not too small.

In a stock pot, melt a couple tablespoons of butter (that's the secret ingredient... it always is. Whenever you taste something really really good I guarantee there's butter in it... or possibly lard. =) ). Chop an onion and saute it in the butter over low/medium heat until it's translucent & yummy looking.

Add the squash back into the pot and add chicken stock (or veggie stock, but I had chicken stock on hand from the last time I made chicken). Add some fresh sage (the cookbook I checked called for thyme but the lady at the market said sage... pick your favorite herb). Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for another half hour - hourish, occasionally stirring and mashing down the squash. When it's looking good and mushy and hot, puree the soup in small batches.

Return the soup to the stock-pot and add some milk (or cream), just enough to make it the consistency you like. I probably added about a cup, but I hadn't added that much chicken stock. And you're done. Garnish it with sage, serve with nice fresh bread from the market & say "Oh my gourd that's good." ;) There is nothing better than a nice hot bowl of creamy soup on a rainy rainy day.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Night Cleaning Frenzy

This week's blog-stalking assignment was "your junk drawer" which was a bit odd since it implies that one keeps one's junk in a drawer... somehow contained rather than just... everywhere. Hmmm. There might be something to that!

Lately Casa Rebuelita has become a bit of a disaster zone, and for a while I've been wanting to deep clean my apartment & just purge a lot of stuff I don't need/want anymore. So I decided that today is the day...(or rather this weekend is the weekend) but it starts now. Now I realize that this is far from the most exciting thing out there in the blogosphere (that is my new favorite not-a-word word btw), but I'm hoping that posting before & after pictures will inspire me to actually do it*. Plus...it might make the rest of you feel much better about the state of your homes!

Danger-zone #1

The dining room / office / sewing room.

This multifunctional 'nook' is currently the hub of activity at Casa Rebuelita. Please note Sally getting into the theme of the evening by giving herself a little bath. That's the spirit Sally... when you're done with that do you want to help with the laundry?

Danger zone #2

Entertainment / Education / Entrance area

Please note my: work bag, tutoring bag, knitting bag (one of them anyway two more are out of sight!); and my work out back-pack. Not only am I a crazy cat lady, I am one shopping cart away from being a bag-lady. Not promising. Something must be done.

In the entertainment center and on the shelf beside it I have a rather large collection of VHS tapes. Which is unfortunate because my tape player doesn't actually function with my TV (not even with the adapter) =( As I've lived with this situation for a while, and have started replacing my video tapes with DVDs, I just need to say good bye to them.

On the bookshelf you'll find a wide variety of books both read & unread, but most disturbingly my Introduction to Psychology textbook circa 1993. =? and several other books from college. Now it was conceivable, when I graduated, that I would one day have a job that would utilize my incredibly overpriced education and that these textbooks would be valuable resources for years to come. But yeah... that pipe dream is over... really over. So I think it's well past time to get rid of them.

Danger zone #3

The craft room / coat closet.

Complete chaos, I tell you! I have no idea what that thing in front is, but it's big & loud & Sally runs away whenever it's on, which can't be a good thing. On the right you can see a stack of boxes at least waist high - that's a portion of my yarn stash... but by no means all of it. It is in serious need of reorganization!

Danger zone #4

This is by far the most inefficient use of space in my entire 550 sq. ft. apartment! And is probably my best entry for a "junk drawer."

The desk itself was purchased at Goodwill (circa 1998 but who knows how old it was then!), cleaned up & given a nice coat of paint. The drawer was not entirely in tact when I bought the drawer and over the years I've tried my best to repair it using tape and real actual nails. But the runner thingies that it should slide into just no longer exist. It's time to, at the very least, get rid of the drawer. Oh... and that thing on top is called a "monitor", beside the desk on the right is an antique known as a "CPU" back in the olden days before laptops, computers & monitors were *separate*! Scary, I know. This beauty has Windows 95 on it, and is almost functional. For the longest time I intended to transfer the files to my new laptop but never got around to it. When I did make an attempt I came to the unhappy realization that the two were not even remotely compatible. The old computer uses 3" (not so) floppy disks... which my new computer does not. The old computer has a CD Rom drive, but can't write to it. I actually found a USB port and got excited, until I actually plugged my flash drive into it and an error message came up. "What is this strange object with which you are violating me? Remove it at once!" OK... that's probably not what it said... but close enough. In theory one could email the files from one computer to the other... but in theory one has lightening fast cable internet. Alas... in reality one has dial up. =(

So I think I'll finally break down and call some computer repair folks and see if they can do anything for me. There's not a lot of urgent stuff on it... but several pictures that I'd rather not lose to the ether.

Noticeably absent from these photos are the kitchen, bathroom & bedroom. I clean the bathroom pretty regularly. That's priority #1 when I do feel like cleaning. And thanks almost entirely to my dishwasher, the kitchen stays relatively tidy. Plus there's absolutely loads of cupboard space so there's a place for even all of my kitchen gadgets. My bedroom stays more or less tidy because I spend so little time in there, let alone conscious.

So that's the starting point... I'm giving myself until Sunday to straighten everything up, then ready or not I'll take pictures again. Any tips or encouragement would be most appreciated. =)

*If you were thinking, quite rightly, that I might get a little more cleaning done if I weren't blogging... I'm using the Fly-Lady's tip, setting the timer for 15 minutes to clean, then another 15 minutes to blog. So I've already started making a little progress.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WIP Wednesday

I've been knitting away on Mr. Greenjeans. It's not too exciting yet.

Well, it's a little exciting. This is my first time doing a raglan sleeve, and it's my first time knitting a cardigan from the yoke down & in the round. Well, it's not a pullover, so it's not completely round, but it's seamless, so I'm doing the back, shoulders, and fronts all in one piece. Which means no seaming! Or at least minimal seaming/finishing. Yay!

And here is Soleil:

I haven't been working on it very consistently, but I won't be able to wear it until summer anyway, so it's just kind of 'background' knitting.

I haven't done anything else with the V-neck vest. Technically I should block it before seaming it. But I just washed & blocked my cardigan & it took a full week to dry, even with a fan blowing on it. So I'm not super eager to have a stack of towels & wet wool on my bedroom floor for another week.

So, that's what I have on the needles right now... well that and the Gothic Leaf stole, but I haven't touched that one in a long long time, but that's what I'm actually working on right now.

And I'm feeling a little remiss because I've been so focused on books lately that I've neglected on of my primary responsibilities with this blog... posting pictures of Sally.

Here she is last weekend... she's watching a squirrel on a tree just out of sight. I thought she looked cute surrounded by all the leaves.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Things that suck

aka I have no one to blame but myself.

One of the advantages of living so close to work is that I can go home for lunch and even go run errands if I need to. Today was one of those days. I neglected to get cat food over the weekend, so I decided to run down to Western Pet supply today. I was travelling on at a bit of a ... brisk pace. As I was going along I noticed a new sign that said "Speed Photo Posted", which, not being a complete sentence I found confusing. So in my aspergers-like way, I drove along trying to figure out what that meant. Speed photo? Like a one hour photo place? Still puzzling that out I noticed a blue van parked up on the sidewalk. Now that's *really* unusual. Why is there a blue van on the sidewalk... just as I made out the words "Portland Police" and started applying vigorous pressure to my breaks a bright flash nearly blinded me as I saw the needle on my speedometer move from 50 to 45. Yup... 40mph zone. I am soooo busted! The worst part is having to wait to find out exactly how much I'm busted for. No, the worst part is that I totally deserve it and I have no one to blame but myself. That really sucks.

Another thing that sucks... last week I sent a rather snarky email about someone. But instead of putting that person's name in the subject line...I put it in the "To" field. Yup, boys & girls, no one to blame but myself.

Things that don't suck:

I've actually blocked my Everyday Cardigan (yes, cardinal sin of knitting - I wore it before blocking it. ;) ) and was able to eek out a little more length. Also, I finished knitting a deep V-neck vest.

Still needs to be blocked, seamed & finished... but the knitting part is done. Yay!

I've also cast on for Mr. Greenjeans. I'm excited, this will be my first cable project. It's a top-down sweater which is nice because I'll be 2/3 of the way through it before I actually have to start doing the cables. Should be exciting.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Speaking of books...

Not only is Portland a knitter's nirvana; it's heaven for bibliophiles. Not only do we have Powells, the largest independent bookstore in the country, but we also have Wordstock, an annual festival of books. It's awesome!

There are several stages where you can listen to authors read from their work, or talk about writing. And of course there are booths for bookstores and publishers. I discovered (much in the way that Columbus discovered America) a cool cartoon called "Too Much Coffee Man", and listened to Steven Almond talk about meeting Kurt Vonnegut and recount a hillarious story of young love at summer camp.

It was fun, and you know I didn't get out of there empty handed. I really wanted to get Almond's book "Not that you asked", but the line was too long, so I'll pick that up next time I go to Powells. But I did get the sequel to "The Dangerous Book for Boys" (which I gave to my nephew last year).

Andrea Buchanan & Miriam Peskowitz's "The Daring Book for Girls" will make a great gift for my niece... after I read it of course. ;)

I also picked up Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods", and Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma". I kinda feel like I should have picked up a book or two from the local authors represented there. But I don't know. There are just so many books out there, and those were a couple I've been meaning to read for a while now. Plus I like to read books that other peole have likely read so I can talk to them about it. So yeah... Wordstock, pretty awesome. Have I mentioned how much I love Portland.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The curious reason why Rebel reads on her walk to work

Although I haven't updated my reading list in a while, I've actually finished a number of books recently.*


Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynn Truss

Plot: Basically the author goes on a tirade against modern usage & misuse of grammar and punctuation. She also educates the reader about the history & correct usage of the most commonly used forms of punctuation.
Motto: Sticklers Unite!

Opinion: While this book is educational and funny in parts, I think the author takes herself entirely too seriously. Or maybe I'm taking her entirely too seriously. Unfortunately, this book preaches to the choir and probably won't do much to stop the erosion of punctuation from the English Language.

The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

Plot: The author traces the vocabulary, pronunciation & usage of the English language from it's roots in a Germanic tribal language through influence by Norman French, distribution to America & Australia, and finally as a global language. The book claims to answer the questions of why we pronounce the same letter combination (e.g. 'ough') in several different ways, why we spell words with the same root differently (e.g. four / forty) and how English developed arguable the largest vocabulary of any language.

Motto: Why? No one really knows.

Opinion: I enjoyed this book much more than Eats Shoots & Leaves. There was a big difference in the attitudes of the authors; they take opposite sides of an age old argument about the language. While Truss wages war against misuse and calls for a return to higher standards, Bryson merely illustrates the changes that have already occurred in the language. He values, for example, the differences between British English and the North American & Australian dialects.

The history lessons are interesting and easy to understand. Bryson is genuinely funny, and I found myself laughing in several places. My only frustration with the book was that after being promised the explanation for why English is the way it is, some of the questions were answered with "No one really knows." which is probably true, but still... don't promise what you can't deliver Bill!


The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Backstory: When I was little I remember this miniseries airing, and both my sister & mom loving it. They both read the book, and I often heard the phrase "The Thorn Birds" uttered rapturously. I was much too young to understand the appeal, but remembered that this was their favorite book. I visited my sister in July and I guess I was finally 'old enough' because she foisted the book upon me to read when I got home.

Plot: The youngest daughter of a sheep ranching dynasty in Australia falls in love with Father-hottie-pants. Multi-generational drama ensues.

Motto: Bless me Father for I have sinned.

Opinion: I loved it! Perfect vacation read. There's romance, action, betrayal, redemption, everything you want in a romance novel. My one complaint is how the author suggests that 3 pages worth of complex emotion can be communicated from one character to another by a significant glance. But for the genre, that's to be expected.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

Plot: A murder mystery / detective story told from the perspective of a 15 year old boy with Aspergers Syndrome.
Motto: 1 3 5 7 11 13 17 19 ...

Opinion: I so identified with the main character that I began to think I might have Aspergers Syndrome myself... except for the math stuff... and the fact that the inability to identify with other people is one of the characteristics of Aspergers. This was a short book, very quick and easy to read, but not at all simplistic. Haddon does a remarkable job of giving the main character a unique voice, and allowing the reader to see the world through his eyes. I'm impressed with how well the secondary characters are developed given this unique perspective. I enjoyed this book very much, and recommend it to anyone who is interested in Aspergers or psychology in general, or math, or mysteries, or train travel in England, or dogs or yellow cars...

Currently reading:
Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivner
This is my bedtime reading because it's too big of a book to carry to & from work in my purse. So far it's been interesting. For all my years in school, there is so much I don't know about learning, I never realized all the thought and preparation that could go into planning a lesson.

The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
I've just started reading this one, and it's definitely thought provoking. The author's tone is rather harsh, but it sounds like she has just cause to criticize Muslims, Islamic Countries and the West.

Both of these books are nonfiction so I've been rereading bits and pieces of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows to amuse myself. I would love some recommendations for good fiction books to read.

What about you, dear reader? Have you read or thought about reading or refuse to read any of the above books? I'd love to hear your opinions.

*As for the title of this post: I usually read as I walk to and from work, and while it only takes about 7 minutes each way, I get a fair amount of reading done since I also walk home & back for lunch. I didn't used to read while I walked to work. I used to just walk, observe the pretty trees & mountains, and say "Hi" to my neighbors as they walked past. It just so happened that one of these neighbors appeared more regularly than any of the others. As I was walking home for lunch, he'd be walking down the hill. And when I walked back to work, he'd be walking up the hill with his daughter. So I'd see him and smile & say hi, and we'd both go on our merry way. This went on every day for a couple of weeks and I just began feeling more and more pressed to come up with something witty to say to this person, which is just not my strong suit. Never mind the fact that although his family lives in my apartment complex, I've never officially been introduced (or for that matter introduced myself), so I don't know his name. After a few months, I just felt so painfully awkward about running into my friendly neighbor/complete stranger, I started bringing a book with me so I could studiously ignore him as we passed each other. I'm horrible. I know.... totally anti-social... see above where I think I have Aspergers.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Perfect Sweater Weather

This weekend was absolutely perfect sweater weather. It was cold, clear & dry. On Saturday I went out and about in my Girly Man sweater, which kept me nice and cozy.
(excuse the wet hair... I haven't used a hair dryer since Jr. High)

And on Sunday I wore my newly finished Lorna's Laces Everyday Cardigan. I used the blue-green buttons, rather than the purple ones, but unfortunately they're a bit too small, and they tend to spontaneously unbutton themselves.

It fits well, but is shorter than I would have liked. I actually haven't blocked it since seaming it (I was impatient to wear it). But when I do block it, I'll futz with the button holes to see if I can get them a bit tighter, and I'll stretch it a bit to see if I can get an extra inch of length out of it.

I'm still ambivilant about the color. It's a lot lighter & brighter than I thought it would be when I bought it. So I was thinking about over dying it with a medium blue color to try to darken it all up again. But I don't know. I like the contrast between the blues and purple, I just don't like the bright green. Oh well. I think I'll wear it for a while and see if it grows on me. It's very warm & fuzzy. As the temperature drops, I'm all about the wool sweaters!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

National Do Something for a Month Month

If you were not aware, November is NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. For NaNoWriMo people try to write a 50,000 word novel (novella). I participated in NaNoWriMo last year, and it was actually a very interesting experience. My novel was crap... but that goes without saying among NaNoWriMo veterans. It's not about quality, it's about quantity. It's about silencing the inner critic and writing writing writing until you can't write anymore and then looking back and seeing that some of it wasn't half bad. One of the mottos of NaNoWriMo is "December is for Editing"; don't delete the crappy paragraph you just wrote, and just stare at your blank page until the perfect words fall into place... keep writing and you might write something really good. And there are parts of my novel that were really good... well, maybe not *really* good, but good enough to make me glad I wrote them, and a few were funny enough to make J. laugh. (Although she does humor me quite a bit so....)

One thing I was particularly proud of in my novel was that my characters actually went to the bathroom. In the entire 7 book / 7 year Harry Potter series there are multiple bathroom scenes, fighting a troll, mixing a spell, solving a riddle, and a fight between students. But only once (that I remember) does a character (never thought I'd quote Senator Craig in my blog) "go to the bathroom, to use the bathroom for bathroom's sake." Which in my mind is totally unrealistic. So the protagonist in my novel did and I think that made her a more developed and realistic character.

I digress. In my recent blogstalking I discovered that November is not just NaNoWriMo, it's also National Sweater Knitting Month (knit a 50,000 stitch sweater), National Make Art Month (create a work of art every day), and National Blog Writing Month (write a blog entry every day). I thought about doing NaNoWriMo again, but I'm pretty sure I only ever had one crappy novel in me. So I thought about doing one of the others, but nothing inspired me. And now it's the second day of November - so any of the 'every day for a month' goals are out of the question. But I'd still like to achieve a meaningless goal this month. So I ask you, gentle reader, what "do something for a month" month would you participate in?