Thursday, May 31, 2007

BTT: Paper Or Plastic

BTT question of the week:

- Do you read e-Books?
- [I]f so, how? On your computer, or a PDA?
- Or are you a paper purist? Why?

I'm not shy about taking sides or agruing a point, but I never considered that there might be folks out there that felt specifically about how they read their books! As for me, my brushes with e-texts have been for university classes. Interlinear translations on the Harvard Chaucer site were essential for my Chaucer class. And how can you not think Project Gutenberg is totally fabulous?

Here's the thing: I've never read a book on a computer or other electronic device. Does this make a paper purist? I don't think so, but there is something to be said for the physical experience of turning pages. Sometimes, when a book is a little slow, actual physical progress may be the only thing that keeps me going. I've only recently tried alternatives to reading, like audiobooks. I think since I haven't really been hooked, there must be something pretty essential for me in having the book front and center.

I Could Be Knitting Right Now

...or, at least that is what I tell myself to tear away from the computer.

Need a laugh? Try this on for size.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Head Over 100% Merino Short Row Heels

Have you been here yet? Oh. Holy. Mecca. SOCKS!! (well, socks-yet-to-be)

On my short list for future orders:

1. Smooshy by Dream in Color. If you can make up your mind about which color to try first, you're a stronger man than I.

2. Fixation. That pretty accurately describes my desire to find a yarn I can knit with and wear in the summer. And slouch socks are so 1985, so I'm hoping that little bit of elastic mitigates the cottony-ness.

3. LL Flames. But really, so many colors, so little time.

4. Toasty Toes. Indeed.

5. Potluck by Cherry Tree Hill. Take a risk.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tequila Is Optional

Margarita Pie, or Lime Pie, or Whatever-Citrus-You-Want Pie

To give due credit, this is basically a recipe we've been using at work for sampling, but I haven't found an external link for it.

1 Graham Cracker Crust
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 cup lime juice or margarita mix
6 egg yolks
1/3 to 2/3 cup sugar (optional with juice)

This one is easy. First, your flavoring. I think pretty much any flavor of margarita mix will work (and we even use our pina colada at work), so if you use this and it's already sweetened, don't add any sugar. If you want to use fresh-squeezed, the sky's the limit. Grapefruit, meyer lemon, blood orange, tangerine, lime. Let your palette be your guide. The same holds true of the sugar you add. In our case, we don't add any, and we used all lime juice because my husband has an affinity for the extremely (and sometimes absurdly) sour.

Optional step: if you're adding sugar, dissolve it in the juice first.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine yolks and condensed milk, mix, then add juice or margarita. Mix well. Pour into baked pie shell. Place pie on a baking sheet and then in the oven. Begin checking for doneness after 10 minutes. To do this, jiggle the pie. If it really wobbles, no dice, come back in 7 minutes. Once the pie starts to set up, there will be a lot less wobble. Check frequently, as over cooking tends to curdle. (This is basically a quick-cooking custard.) You can turn down the heat if the middle seems not to be setting up - maybe 325 degrees. Once you think it's done, place the pie on a cooling rack for an hour. Transfer to the 'fridge for at least two and up to eight hours before serving.

Watch out, those are some serious calories you're contemplating.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

BTT: Oui, Un Petit Peu

It's time again for BTT.

Do you have any foreign language books and if so can you (still) read them?

Why yes, yes I do. Acutally what I have are a couple textbooks and reference books from my 2nd year university French courses, two children's picture dictionaries in French (okay, they really belong to the kid, but who do you think reads them to him?), a section of the Aeneid by Virgil in Latin, and a Latin textbook I bought to teach myself.

As for what I can read, I could certainly muddle through the basic meanings of anything French, and joy of joys, the internet would certainly be able to help out with a quick look-up. The only Latin (and Greek) I've studies was a quick 2-credit etymology course my last quarter at UW, so I won't be doing a lot of reading there any time soon.

I have to say, I'm finding this Thursday book meme quite fun. Writing about reading and books seems to be getting my interest flowing again. I've begun reading Without Reservations here and there and just talking about foreign (to me) languages gets me thinking about taking more courses at the local college. I think my primary connection to books that aren't about knitting or sci-fi is through school, which of course I adore. Actually, I've been eyeballing a Dreamweaver course offered this fall, and what is HTML but another language. So, yay for BTT and thanks, Deb.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

That Is Just Wrong

See what I mean?

I don't think that referring to one of Bjork's outfit choices as a bad example is anything but self-evident. But when someone does something that wrong to decent yarn and a perfectly valid fiber art technique, it's hard for me not to feel like spitting and swearing. Definite candidate for a MOKS award. But let's be really clear - I can't stand Bjork on sheer principle.

Nothing to See Here

Or, better yet, let's talk about my kid. The little guy has been a bit of a pill lately, due to the fact that his body is sending him two molars that don't normally arrive until four years from now. So he ain't my favorite person all the time. But then he goes and does something really fabulous like standing up for himself at the playground without retaliating or being malicious, and I get all fuzzy with pride. It makes me think that even if you have huge mommy-guilt and wonder if you'r the worst person in the universe you might not be totally guaranteed to eff-up your kid's psyche.

There's a thing I've been trying to figure out - where did he get that bruise from? I'm there nearly 110% of the time, and I can't recall where he would've gotten a little goose egg in the middle of his forehead. I was the one who gave him his first owie (totally stupid accident not worth recounting), and I was there with him and very sad for him when he got his first shiner. Suddenly, it seemed, yesterday there was a little blue spot in the smack center of his little noggin. Now, the little risk-taker hasn't leapt off anything absurd. Lately. So, I missed something.

News in knitting: the kilt hose are finished. Both. I'm not ready to talk over the details, but they've been given to mine hubster, and he's very excited about the whole plan (involves a Utilikilt). And best of all, he never suspected that those "sleeves" actually turned out to be socks. Pictures forthcoming on model. (THEY FIT!!!)

That's all for now. Go about your business.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Like a Flu...

...this meme seems to be catching. Maybe everyone is so preoccupied with summer's evetual arrival that they've just lost the desire to post. G.bella tagged me, so I'm going to try and think of 7 random things that might be interesting to know about me.

1. I have a generous portion of a b.s. in biology and I've completed all the departmental requirements for an English Literature b.a. What am I missing? Electives - a year's worth.

2. I had a job at a food co-op in high school, and one really slow Saturday the baker and I decided we needed to make up hippy names for ourselves. Mine? Dragonmoon.

3. My husband and I chose our son's first name in part because of two of our favorite television characters: Daniel Jackson and Jack O'Neill. Yes, we're enormous geeks.

4. Working has never been my strong suit as I tend to loathe it. Being a stay-at-home mom was a dream come true, even though we've been pretty darn poor because of it. Now I have a minimum wage job that we don't depend on for real income, and I like my job because I don't really have to keep it. Okay, I like the people I work for as well, but don't tell anybody.

5. I secretly wish that I could make a living doing something creative, like writing, knitting or jewelry-making. The big problem is that I have no idea how to get started.

6. In total contradiction of #5, I hope someday (once I've finished my B.A.) to apply to grad school, study Medieval Literature, get a PhD and become a college professor.

7. When I like something (music, knitting, university, therapy) I tend to throw myself into it 110%. After about a year and a half, more often than not I run out of energy for my current project. But a couple months off and I'm ready to find a new focus.

Okay, here's the part where I'm supposed to tag people. But not this time. If anyone wants a go of their own choosing, feel free.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

BTT: Bookless

Bookless? Well, I'm never really bookless, as I've only read about half of the books I own. But I know that feeling. You look at the things on your nightstand, nothing. You look at the books on the shelf, good memories come back, but nothing sparky for right now.

As an English major, not having anything to read seems anathema, but it can be a bit relieving. I love to read, but I can't always bring myself to be motivated enough to do it because I'd rather be knitting or I feel guilty for not doing the dishes. When I open a book I find it difficult to think about anything else, especially when I find something particularly yummy. So I read occasionally, when the mood really strikes me. I just open the pages of something that matches my vibe and I'm there. That's the easy part. And I'm sure when there are no small children left to raise, I'll do it a lot more.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mystery Sock

If you watch Heroes, think Hiro.


Bits of progress here and there.

The second K/H is beyond the cuff, TFG. If I push a little I think I can make my birthday deadline. I cast on for a Pie Are Square shawl in Knit Picks 100% merino laceweight. Loving the new needles, Addi Turbos of course. And since I am totally obsessed with socks, I'm doing a few rows occasionally on a Lorna's Laces/Wildfoote combo in my fav - purples.

Hope everybody had a great Mother's Day. I worked, and the guys brought me flowers and a hand-made card to pick me up afterwards. The little guy handed me the flowers himself and managed a very quiet "Happy Mom's Day". It was so cute I almost teared up in front of my boss. Loving my days off right now.

Friday, May 11, 2007

100 Things #3

Purple Flowers by Donncha at


3. I love purple.

BTT: Booking Through...Friday

Well, I'm late as usual, but I thought I'd give 'er a go anyway.

Booking Through Thursday: Where Don't You Read

I think just about the only place I've never cracked a book was in the movie theater, though I've done plenty of reading while watching TV or movies at home. Especially if what's on is someone else's pick.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Now I'm Just Showing Off

Actually, now I'm just relishing the feel new yarn I've never worked with before. Can't wait to cast on.

It's up it's up it's up it's up! I've been ready to croak waiting to get a link up of my new-bag-which-is-absolutely-the-coolest-thing-ever. There's a matching needle case, but that's isn't on the site as of now. Funny, they say "4 in stock" but when I was there last there were 24 CASES in the stock room. Enh, whatever works.

FO: One Half

Check out the first of the pair - a single hose made for kilting.
There are some errors that have come to light since casting on for #2. Peek inside that pink circle, and you'll see a 1x1 ribbing that splays out instead of lying flat. I changed to 2x2 ribbing for #2, and I omitted my little trick of casting onto two needles instead of one for a nice loose start. It works well with regular fingering weight socks, but it turns out to be a horrid idea on this pair. I think when I finish with the deuce I'll take out the first at the cast on, rip down about four rows and try to reknit from the bottom up. In the process, I'm going to have to add an additional row of back cables because I mistakenly started with them on the twin.

That's my leg, btw. The sock is baggy in all the right places, so I think I might've been successful on the fit. Now, if only I had another six weeks to finish these suckers.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Need for Speed

This arrived over the weekend. The photo does not do this color justice! It's a rich mix of ultra-dark purples with some darker blue and maybe a bit of black mixed in. I'm sure after it gets a little life back (they really pack it in over at WEBS it will be all kinds of soft, yummy fuzz. I'm going to wait for just the right pattern. Meanwhile, I'm contemplating trying my first real lace project - a pattern from Eunny Jang's blog and a skein of Helen's Lace in natural from my favorite LYS. I want to wear it to my friend's wedding in July. Aaannnd...still waiting for some lace-weight from Knit Picks. Mmmm...yarn.

Proof of actual progress! Once I made it past the cable pattern reapeat, I started really cruising. Which is good, because my deadline is two weeks off and that is sock number one you're lookin' at. I have this gut feeling I might need a bit more time. The picture overemphasizes the heel a bit, and the fact that my ball of yarn is tucked in there doesn't help. But overall, I think the sizing and shape will work out really well. Next sock gets planned decreases so they go a little more smoothly. That will make the socks not identical, but the only person who'll really care will be me. The other day, hub asked how my "sweater" was coming along, and I just went with it. Now that I've turned the heel, though, I really need to hide the thing.

Now for something totally diverting and pointless.

Normally, my husband and I are watching about five different TV shows at any one time. A couple of things have ended or are in between seasons, so we're looking at some new stuff. The first two seasons of Hustle have been fast-paced, funny and have departed from typical TV drama format rather admirably. It definitely helps that each season only lasts for six episodes. That way there aren't any filler epi's that don't further the story arc. Like, say, Lost. My take on the third season: is it over yet? My current favorite show by far right now is Doctor Who, with Heroes as a very close second.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Happy Ending, or Nearly

I am in awe of the motivational power of a well-distributed letter. I've spoken to our complex manager at least fives times in the last two days. Real trouble-shooting has been going on. There have still been a couple communication break-downs on their end, which is shaping up to be the long-term state of affairs that may be the final straw, but at least there has been an effort to really look at the problem.

The part that really blows my socks off was the call I received today from the owner's office, and it was from the previous manager (Theresa) that rented us our place. She has been moved up to supervise (all?) the properties and their managers. I now have her cell phone number, an apology, a rebate on June rent, and the assurance that this is not the kind of thing they want going on. I am to call if I have any more concerns.

The implication that I have an over-active imagination with regards to household appliances has evaporated. Theresa has a get-it-done attitude, and suddenly Marilyn is trying the same route.

Now, if only the things in my apartment would just stay in one piece for the next year and a couple months so we can stick it out long enough to save for a house.

Coincidence, Or Fate?

Knit Night was of special interest to me tonight because apparently it was "first Thursday" the city so there were very few people in attendance at the store. It was kind of nice to sit with a smaller group and get better acquainted with my fellow regulars. Jenni gets a shout - it was fun sitting and chatting with ya. Things started to clear out around 8:30pm, and I stayed until the last as usual, though this time I finally pitched in and help clean up glasses and chairs. I guess part of me just wanted to stay with the yarn just a few more minutes.

My project bag has been an inauspicious combination of diaper bags and Knit Purl store bags. I keep checking out various bags, but nothing has really spoken to me. My LYS/Knit Night shop announced a new bag/needle holder line by ShibuiKnits (which nobody seems to have a pic of yet) at a wonderful KN price, it took me all of seconds to find my wallet and grab one off the wall. This baby has pen/needle pockets, a cellphone pocket, card holder, snap-in zip pocket, a long needle zip pocket, two water bottle pockets inside, a magazine-sized flat pocket outside and is probably big enough to store six knitting projects. I lurv it. I was meant to have this bag. Now, how to tell my husband? Should I distract him with nudity?

About the knitting - I am acutally doing some, but its the k/h. Progress is being made - I'm almost to the ankle - but as the birthday is only two and a half weeks away, I think I might just get the toe kitched up by then. Not really worth photographing anyway.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Challenge to My People Skills

I have a problem with my apartment complex, and I need to vent just a little. Consider yourself warned.

I live in a rather large complex that is fairly low-rent in both the per month sense and the cheapskate one. Until recently, however, the place was managed by a very nice woman who was always polite on the phone and responsive to maintenance issues. The new office manager is much less fun to interact with. My problem was originally with my dryer, which went from finishing a load of clothes in a single high heat cycle to (in it's current state) two and a half or three cycles on high heat. I first let the office folks know TWO MONTHS AGO that there was a problem. May has rolled around the manager has basically all but told me the problem doesn't exist.

It isn't that the problem hasn't been approached. But three new dryers later, the manager is still convinced I need another one. I've called several times to see what the plan was and haven't been called back. The maintenance folks have come in without permission. I actually had a face-to-face with the manager, to no avail. Can you see how I might be losing confidence here?

So you know what I did? I sent a letter:

April 27, 2007

Cambridge Crossing Apartments
Beaverton, OR

Dear Marilyn,

Per the Terms & Conditions of our lease agreement, I want to document in writing the malfunction of our dryer. As you know, the dryer stopped working for the second time since our arrival at Cambridge Crossing around the first of March. When I first called in the problem, it was taking the dryer at least two full cycles on high heat to dry a regular sized load of clothes. Two replacement dryers, a new wall plug and a cleaned vent later and the problem hasn’t been solved. Now the dryer takes at least three cycles at high heat for a full-sized load of clothes and two cycles for a pair of jeans and a couple shirts.

Your attempt to fix this issue is much appreciated. However, the problem still exists and my frustration continues to grow. I have been reduced to finishing one load of laundry a day, which I feel is an unnecessary burden. When I am this frustrated, a failure to respond to phone calls for information about the status of the dryer repair seems like insult to injury. Not to mention that Oscar’s entry into our apartment to replace the plug without permission to enter is in violation of our lease.

I’m sorry to use such harsh language regarding this ongoing problem, but we’ve been without a properly functioning dryer for going on two months. Please do anything you can to get this cleared up in the next week or so. Feel free to call me at any point to let me know when Oscar will be coming by again.



cc: KS, Attorney at Law
Kinsel Ameri Properties, Inc.

Note those two cc's at the bottom? My lawyer and the property owner, respectively. Time to bust out the big guns.

Needless to say, I got a call immediately after the letter arrived. And they've been by this afternoon to try testing the wall socket for proper output. ... I just got off the phone for the second time in an hour and a half with the manager and she actually came through with a new idea. Actually, the idea was credited to the property owner, which means their letter arrived today as well.

I am tired of the implication that I'm the problem and not the dryer. To quote: "the previous tennants didn't have this complaint". How does that sound to you? I just want the bloody thing fixed. The major resistance to an actual professional electircian makes me wonder about a couple things...

Phew. I actually feel a bit better. Sorry for unloading.