Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The snow is filling the air, horizontally. Patches on the roads are scoured clean and, in other places, it is starting to drift deeply. The snowflakes are the tiny things spawned of frigidly cold air, squeaking underfoot, and blinding to the driver as they are tossed in huge clouds across the road. School was in session, which was just as well as the school had heat and we didn't.
My office at work was sans electricity as well, which ordinarily wouldn't matter as I don't work Wednesdays, but in this case I intended go in for an extra hour or two to work on setting up my new computer. I went anyway, as I didn't know whether there was electricity or not, and I would have just stayed and read my homework papers there, but the fire alarm box was distressed at not having electricity, so it went "beep-beep" every 30 seconds. I stuck it out for 20 minutes and then went grocery shopping instead.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
I should have bought one years ago.
I have always been rather in awe of people who claimed they made all their own bread and actually used it for sandwiches. I love making bread (and eating it too), but have never mastered the art of slicing it by hand in even slices such as one would want to use for sandwiches. A thick slab, toasted with melted cheese? Yes. A thick slice, hot from the oven, with melted butter and jam? You bet. Two reasonable slices with a sandwich filling in between? Not so much.
Enter the bread slicing guide. Using this puppy, I can make reasonably even slices which even my family will admit are good for sandwiches. Add to that my recent desire to greatly reduce the amount of HFCS I and my family are ingesting, and suddenly I'm making bread three times a week. We're eating quite a bit more bread than we were before, but on the other hand, I've noticed that the snacks are diminishing at a much slower rate. More bread (made at home with no preservatives, high fructose corn syrup or other additives) ; less potato and corn chips.
That's a tradeoff I think I'll make. 7 minutes to put the ingredients in the bread machine. 5 minutes to heat the oven and shape the bread into the loaf pan. 1 minute to slice what I need when we want to eat it. Not bad.
Oh, and the marmelade?
It came out just fine.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I only make orange marmelade once every five years or so (it take that long to forget the tedium of its manufacture). I haven't made it, actually, since I had oranges to pick off our own tree, when we lived in California. I used organic oranges and lemons, but I still preferred having our own to use.
Having gotten wrapped up in making marmelade, I forgot to make the bread until it was too late this evening. We'll see how well I remembered to use the timer on the bread machine.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I haven't found the code to be particularly difficult. What is difficult is the fact that to date, we've had three sets of homework. Each homework assignment lasts about a week; each homework assignment requires us to download, install, and learn to use one or more software packages, at least in a rudimentary fashion. Once we do all that, we can then write the code that's needed, which (trust me on this) by this time is a piece of cake.
This week's homework is being done simultaneously with the planning of our software project. After this homework is turned in, we have a generous two weeks to finish a group project, coding, testing, etc.
The homework this time warned us that if we chose well, it would be easy. If we didn't choose well, we would be sweating. Up until the point that I forgot a step after moving away from the computer, things were moving along pretty well. I then spent an hour banging my head on the desk before I figured out where I'd screwed up. However, as of this precise moment, my homework is working. A week early. I guess I chose well. And I don't think I'll take advantage of his generous offer to give an unknown amount of extra credit for doing it again the hard way. Moving right along to my spinning wheel, I'm going to work on getting my blood pressure back under control.
Friday, January 25, 2008
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1/2 c canola oil
1/4 c water (just enough to make everything covered)
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 light sprinkling salt
For about 2 pounds of chicken breast, marinated for an hour before grilling. It would probably be even better if left to sit longer. I put it with lightly sauteed in butter and then covered to steam broccoli and sliced mushrooms. Yum.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
1 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon (I like using the Ceylon cinnamon for this)
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
sprinkling of nutmeg
2 c flour
Cream the butter. Add the sugar and blend well. Sift dry ingredients together. Mix into butter/sugar, at low speed. The result will tend to be crumbly. Press evenly into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden at edges. Allow to cool for 10 or 15 minutes, then score into squares or diamonds approximately 1 to 1.5 inches across. Cut apart when completely cool. Store in a sealed container, if your family allows you to get that far.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
We have whiteout conditions at the moment - lake effect snow that is swirling wildly around in the front porch eddy and blurring the lamppost across the street. The neighbor-across-the-street's house is invisible. I have cinnamon shortbread cooling on the stove and honey-buttermilk bread rising in the bread machine. My homework is done for the day. Time to go turn on the fireplace and finish (maybe) some Rogue sleeves.
Monday, January 21, 2008
I am interested in batik enough to want to read the book, though, before I'm positive that it will need to find a new home.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
We've been working on divesting ourselves of things we don't need. However, unfortunately (fortunately?) other members of our family are going through similar divestiture attempts. My mother is taking a serious look at the items she thinks she will no longer use, and ridding the house of them. Things that she thinks we (her three offspring) may want to use, she's sending to us. When what she's sending me is something I want, how can I turn it down?
I miss the old Compuserve fibercrafts forum. There were several nice things about that forum that I've not found duplicated anywhere else, although the blogosphere comes the closest. Once of the things I miss is that other related fiber crafts were just a click away from the ones I followed, and there were volunteers who pruned the chat lists, not by telling people to stay on topic, or, worse, letting them babble unrestrained, but by moving the thread into Unraveling Threads, a chat section where eventually everybody got dumped for offtopic content. There was only one Unraveling Threads, so if you followed threads there, eventually you wound up meeting people who only hung out in sections other than your own.
I am not a quilter, but I met a bunch of quilters there - I'm not a fabric dyer, except that after a while I dabbled in it, trying the things other people were chatting about. (I wasn't a spinner either, only suddenly I was and things have never been the same.)
One of the things I dabbled in was baggie dyeing with fabric. There were a number of recipes floating around just then for low water immersion dyeing of fabric; right about the time we were playing with it, this book came out. It was sort of a cross between several of the recipes and the instructions were pretty clear. I'm not a fabric dyer nor a quilter, so I played with it for a while and then set it aside, not bothering to keep the recipes because I had the book. And then I didn't have the book and the Fibercrafts forum dissolved, killed off by the growing email lists, and I moved on into spinning and knitting from the embroidery which had led me into the C'serve forum to start with.
But now I have the book again. And it's going on my shelf, not yet to be passed on to someone else.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Given the reviews I've seen, I don't think that Cat Bordhi's sock book is the way I want to go. With all due respect for Ms. Bordhi's methods, I'm really interested in learning about the detailed design choices to be made in knitting socks the traditional way. At least at the moment.
My MIL got me this for Christmas.
And I got myself some of this:
from the January online sale at Woodland Woolworks. I thought perhaps K might like the purpley/red but she still wants the green I'm spinning. (I'm not trying to keep her from the green, I was just surprised at the choice.) She's been telling me the green should be sock yarn ever since I brought it home.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
1. We got a kitten when our old lady cat was very old. She was highly reactive to anything with chicken in it so there was no cat food in the house with chicken of any kind. Our kitten grew used to foods without chicken and, now, two years later has grown into a very picky cat. Unfortunately, his first favorite food was discontinued by the manufacturer. His second favorite food was superceded by his third favorite food (the previously second favorite food is now anathema, apparently) and his third favorite food has now been bumped by a new favorite. Salmon and rice is apparently the only food worth eating and since we have a bag, and a half a bag left of his previously second and third favorite foods, we are somewhat annoyed with him. He's also getting quite svelte turning up his nose at various cat foods. Since this manufacturer has already shown that they think nothing of discontinuing brand lines, I am really reluctant to allow him to dictate one kind or nothing.
2. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is giving a free concert. It's pretty cool that the offspring have apparently been sufficiently brainwashed into appreciating music that they are telling me that they have got to go see this.
3. One of the really nice things about living near a fairly large urban setting with several large centers of higher learning is that it is entirely possible to get the whole family out to reasonably priced cultural activities. So far this school year we've been to the theater ($20 for 4), been to the opera ($35 for 3) and tonight, we're off to see the orchestra ($0 for 4). We can, if we choose, go see much more expensive things as well, but it doesn't have to break the bank, for which I am extremely grateful.
The problems in programming that most often give me headaches are the kind that arise from trying to put different people's work together. Picture a piece of lace knitting handed to you already started by someone else. They give you a bunch of live stitches and a verbal description of what the lace pattern already done looks like. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to knit some more lace pattern onto the shawl already started and make it look like it belongs there.
I've been wrestling with a problem for the past couple of days that turns out to stem from the fact that Person A wrote some code that Person B wrote some more code for and I have to make my stuff work with Person B's code. But there's a bug in between Person A's and Person B's code. AND, it wasn't obvious that I was dealing with a Person A at all - that part wasn't specified. So, it turns out the answer is to ignore Person B's code, go back and only use Person A's code, and voila, my code works with Person A's code just fine. It only took two days of wasted effort to get to this point.
There is a reason why I don't wait until the last minute to do my homework assignments. If I were looking at this on the last day before it was due, I'd be hysterical at this point.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I'll spare you the details on the housework, but just say that it went well, even the part where I harassed the kids into doing their share.
The indoor gardening also went well. Insecticidal soap should take care of the critters brought indoors with the pot of mums. New plant stands will allow me to put the pot of mums where it will a. stop cluttering up the kitchen counter and b. get more sunlight, thereby becoming a more robust shade of green. Right now it rather resembles someone who has been rather ill for six weeks - that "interesting pallor" that develops. I also got larger pots for the last year's poinsettias, new pots for the new amaryllis bulbs (after Christmas sale at White Flower Farm) and more potting soil for the African violets who haven't had any for a good while.
That should keep me busy tomorrow.
Friday, January 11, 2008
My guess, based on weight, is that this falls between the previous two skeins and is therefore probably 400+ yds, giving me a total of approximately 1400+ yds. I have at least half of the charcoal grey merino/silk left and about two thirds of the tussah silk in copper/purple. I could make more yardage of this, but I'm bored with it.
I love spinning laceweight worsted, particularly in silk or merino or... The problem with spinning laceweight worsted is that it takes forever to go through any amount of fiber at all. I used to be in awe of those people who sat down and ripped through 4 oz or 8 oz of fiber in an evening, spinning and plying and finishing. I would look at my miserable evening's output and sigh and wonder why I was so slow. It eventually dawned on me (ok, so I'm slow in things other than spinning) that these people were not producing laceweight spun worsted style. I went through a period where I played with longdraw, played with woolen spun yarns, played with worsted weight and chunky and super bulky. I proved to myself that I can spin this way, I can even produce useable and reasonably well spun yarn at these weights. I can rip through amazing amounts of fiber in an evening. I almost certainly will do so again in the future, though not right now.
I really like spinning laceweight yarns, and I really like knitting lace shawls: a perfect match if there ever was one. But... (you knew there was a "but" involved here), spending hours spinning 2 oz of laceweight yarn means that I get rather bored with the same color(s).
Having gotten bored with grey/copper/purple, I have allowed myself to drift off to other things. Green, for example (I'm sure you'd never guess). I have a small enough amount of the green that I'm hoping it will allow me to get over my boredom with grey. If not, I'll be looking for something to do with about 1400+- yards of merino/silk in charcoal grey with purple and copper accents.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I'm all caught up on my sleep from this weekend (well, sort of) and have a full day of homework ahead of me. I'm currently taking a lunch break and if the weather holds off (wind, rain, more wind, a little bit of sun at the moment) I may dodge out through the raindrops and do the grocery shopping. There are leaves and few branches on our back lawn, the gardening neighbor to the south lost his trellis, and the lights have flickered once or twice. I'm so glad we have the UPS, as I sit here writing code on deadline.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
K is feeling much better, thank you, and is back to school today. She was rather panting at the bit to get back; worried about missing too much and needing to catch up. I figure if she's got the energy to argue with me that she should go, she's got the energy to be there. There are worse things than having conscientious perfectionist children. My time is generally spent trying to get them to quit beating up on themselves rather than pressuring them to do better. Except when it comes to housework of course. Let's don't be silly!
Monday, January 07, 2008
I usually spindle spin because I like the color and feel of the fiber. Picking something to do with it is usually down the line after I finish the yarn and admire it for a while. The answer to Cathy's question about the purpose of the Wild Raspberry is, I dunno, but making a sweater appeals - perhaps a t-top would be good.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
I did take my spindle with me, figuring it might be a long night, and had the ER staff enthralled with how it works. I filled the spindle twice and wound it off on a core (I had only one tp core with me so I layered it). It's one way of getting time to spin, but I don't recommend it.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Friday, January 04, 2008
Remember this little baby?
I meant to take pictures once a week to watch how it grew. Good intentions and all that... Time and amaryllis got away from me. I remembered to take the second picture three days late, so I didn't bother and now it's a week and a half later than that.
I think I'm going to have to stake it before it finishes putting out the blooms. It's already leaning dangerously toward the light and it needs rotating every day. (This picture, obviously, is post morning rotation.)
Thursday, January 03, 2008
My personal intention for some time has been to blog more regularly. Doing NaBloPoMo in November proved to me that I can, in fact, blog every day if I give myself some motivation to do it. So, Blog365 is my motivation. I am promising myself not to beat myself up if I don't make it - but I am going to try.
And yes, numbering the posts is Norma's fault too (lots of things seem to be laid at her doorstep today), but labeling them month and day will help me keep track of where I am better I think.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
It's rather disconcerting to think that by next Tuesday (the 8th of January) in western NY, the temperature is supposed to be 55 F.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
I said that I don't make resolutions, and that is true, but several years ago (about the time I quit making resolutions) I started spending New Year's Day in making propitiatory intentions. I spend the day in those activities I wish to continue for the next year. (This can be both good and bad - I have spent the past two New Year's Days avoiding housework like the plague. My house looks like it.)
Today's activities have so far included:
- Spinning on the wheel
- Spinning on the spindle
- Baking (sticky buns, Yum!)
- Quiet time with my spouse
- Working on a jigsaw puzzle
- Listening to a book (Crocodile on the Sandbank)
- Reading a book (Talk Talk Talk)
- Taking a nap
- Writing on the blog
- Thumbing through the latest gardening catalog and starting a list
Further activities (as currently planned):
- Excavating my bedroom (this is the site to which all loose items migrate)
- Fixing dinner (spiral cut glazed ham, green beans and rosemary cheese potatoes)
- Quiet time with each child
Working out my planned list of activities for the day is the mental activity of some days ahead of time, and while it doesn't have the "you must do this and you are awful if you fail" of "making resolutions", it does help me focus on what I find important and what I'd like to do more of in the coming year. Unlike a resolution, which I usual fail on in the second week, an intention is just that - if I don't do it today (and few things get done every day), there's always tomorrow. So... What's in your tomorrow?