Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On the Road Down

Saturday turned out to be kind of a low key day.  I made two kinds of bread, oatmeal seed bread, and beer and mustard rye bread.  I did a long work out on the Wii because it turned out to be too hot to deal with the outside.  I worked on Secret Project II and got the bikes ready for our planned ride with Shawn's parents on Sunday.  

We had originally planned to go to the Windham Rail Trail, but since the parking lot is closed for construction and it was the last day of bike week, we decided it would be better to just go to Lake Massabesic and use the trails there.  This is a picture of Shawn and his dad.

There's a neat tunnel on the left side, so this is everyone except the photographer (yours truly), going through the tunnel.

While I really like the fact that there's pavement on the Windham Rail Trail, the trails at Lake Massabesic are really pretty too.

I didn't see any lady slippers this time, but the water lilies were  bloom.

It was a good ride, we did six miles, but my backside felt it the next day.  And we probably should have gone a bit earlier in the day to avoid the heat.  We started around 10 am, but it was still oppressive that early.

After the ride, I headed to knitting guild so that I could distribute the Penzey's order, and I was lucky enough to be there when Sally showed up with the baby.  He's a sweetheart and Sally looked wonderful.  After guild, I headed back to Shawn's parents for dinner for Father's Day, and had a swim in the pool.  The heat was so oppressive or I was so tired from the rid that I went to bed quite early.

Yesterday I headed to my friend Kat's with my steamer and steamed her wedding dress before she left for Brazil to get married. I managed to write a page and half, but I chucked it today.  It was going in the wrong direction.  Today I managed to gain about 1,400 words so that was progress. 

And that's just about all the news that's fit to print.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Good Day Sunshine

This week our soda stream machine arrived! Yay! No more lugging bottles and cans into the house, and no more guilt about the fact that our complex does not recycle and we're throwing all that stuff away!  No more wheedling Shawn to go the gas station to get some soda late at night :)

This first picture to the left is the machine and a carbonating bottle full of water.   The picture to the right is the bottle screwed into the machine.

 To the left, you see the bottle of water being carbonated when you press the button.  To the right, is the bottle of soda after the syrup is added, which is just poured carefully into the bottle later.  I tried their version of diet fresca in this picture, but we also got the syrups to do the soda stream versions of diet coke, coke zero (we wanted to see which we liked better), diet rootbeer, and diet cranraspberry.  Each bottle of syrup flavors the equivalent of 33 cans of soda. We also got a sampler pack of flavors to try.  Each one does one liter of soda (one carbonating bottle). 

Prior to purchasing the machine, I figure out how much soda we drink at home (I didn't even count what I drink at work), and then figured out how much that cost, and how much it would cost to make an equivalent amount with the soda stream.  After I've paid for the machine, which we'll do in the first seven months, I'll save $200 a year.  And this doesn't count the $2.50 a day I spend at the office, which I now don't, because I bring a bottle or two to work in the morning.  So, all in all, very happy so far.

It was another crazed week, but I managed to finish Secret Project V. I can't even remember what I did on Monday, how sad is that?  On Tuesday, I picked up the dry cleaning and caved into a craving for Taipei Tokyo.  When I got home the soda machine was here, and I played with that for a while :) 

I also made an appearance at the ManchVegas knitting group on Wednesday, and got to have dinner with Sarah T, Maureen M, Gina H, and Kerry M.  Only bummer was there wasn't much milk free on the 99 menu.  Apparently they rub their baked potatoes with butter before they bake them. Cute.  What a way to also add a lot of calories people aren't expecting, besides the whole allergy thing.  Do they get a commission or something for how the number of pounds people pack on or something?

On Thursday, I met Kristin and Lisa at Jillian's for a Jetboil dinner. It was fun to see them and Kristen brought a friend who knit, so we got to kibitz a bit about knitting.  I didn't get home until about 8pm and then I did laundry and tried to do the Wii Fit, but the board ran out of batteries...too bad! (I've been really working on trying to do the Wii Fit since my energy is now back from the whole milk thing).

Speaking of the milk thing, I did have an interesting incident at work yesterday. Mindy made cupcakes for Kate's birthday.  She very kindly brought in the cake mix label so I could read it, but forgot about the frosting.  So I scraped all the frosting off.  I did a really good job too, there couldn't have been more than an eighth of a teaspoon left on that cupcake.  But apparently that was enough because my face broke out into bright red blotchy patches, my hands turned bright red like a sunburn and my feet swelled up in about an hour after eating the cupcake.  I felt thirsty and tired the rest of the day, but I don't know if the feeling tired was just because of a really long week.  The reaction faded back out within 4 hours, but it was weird to think that that's all it took. Guess I really do have to be milk free, damn it! I was kind of hoping after a couple of months that I'd be able to sneak some things back in, but I guess not.

Last night I played cribbage with Linda D and Mary Kate R at Linda's house.  Her cat cracks me up.  It is so fluffy, it looks almost round. Reminds me of a puffer fish. I seriously had not played cribbage in a long time.  I had meant to print out rules at some point, but it just didn't happen, so Linda and I trying to remember the rules was amusing.

When I got in last night, Shawn had picked up my Penzey's order, so I sorted out my stuff from Sarah A's and Tracy B's and this morning I was able to make oatmeal seed bread in the bread machine.  I love, love Penzey's.  So much cheaper than the grocery store!

It's a gorgeous day here, thinking about asking Shawn to go for a ride on the bikes, before he heads off to his family's men thing at Jillian's for Father's Day. (Which as a matter of principal, I find highly annoying.  Hey, women like to drink beer and play pool too!)

Anyway, that's where we are this week.  I need to knit a ton this weekend, so that I can get Secret Project II finished before Chris and Kristie's new arrival shows up. I also need to write, so that I'm ready for writing group next week. 

Stay tuned for further updates.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blue Sky

Well, we didn't have blue skies yesterday for WWKIP (wide world knit in public) day.  By the time I got back from dragging Shawn around a grocery store while he was half asleep, it wasn't raining, but it was just after I passed the Hooksett tolls on my way up to Concord.  After many phone calls and Sarah A's help with the Meetup site for our group, we got just about everyone notified and moved it to the food court of the Steeplegate Mall.  There was another group convening there as well for WWKIP, so there was quite the gathering of the knitterly.  Since  we were there for a four hour stretch, I was able to get quite a bit done on the Secret Project II, which is for Chris and Kristie. 

Shawn and I made cranberry orange wheat bread in the bread machine last night, and I worked on Secret Project IV, Part A for Sarah A, since she'd been at WWKIP.   I also managed to get a couple of loads of laundry done so I have work clothes for a bit, which is helpful as I have four suits at the dry cleaners at the moment.  Don't get me wrong, I like my dry cleaner, but doesn't it gall me to pay for it.  Sigh.

Yesterday Mary Kate blogged about a new cheese replacement product.  So I toddled down to A Market off South Willow in Manchester and bought some Daiya  mozzarella style shreds this morning before knitting guild.  I also managed to finally find some Parmesan replacement that didn't have any milk derivatives in it, so that was cool. 

After knitting guild, I decided to put the Daiya to the test.  Since the pepperoni we bought yesterday has milk in it, I couldn't do pepperoni, so I did a veggie pizza instead, tomato, onion, olive and zucchini, using my Pampered Chef pizza stone.  (Also, for those keeping track, I cut myself again on the new killer Pampered Chef forged knives.  That's twice this weekend and four times total since we got them.  They're great, they are just really, really, fricking sharp.) The first picture is the before picture, meaning before I cooked it.  The second is the after baking picture. 

I don't know how I feel about it.  The texture was more like melted brie than mozzarella, and it tasted okay, it just didn't taste like cheese.  It tasted more like a tangy ish white sauce.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't very cheesy.  Maybe that's because it hasn't been long enough since I've been off the milk wagon, or maybe it's that I like my pizza cheese somewhat toasty brown with lovely crusty brown bits that the Daiya did not achieve. Again, it wasn't bad, it just wasn't cheese.  Maybe if I made a meat pizza, the meat would have been more of a primary player and I would not have noticed the lack of cheesy-ness as much.

Stay tuned for further updates as they arise.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

As Time Goes By

Remember last week that whole post about how I was going to try to slow down and do less so I'm less chaotic?  Um, yeah, not so much. 

On Monday my friend Linda D posted on Facebook that she had a cello recital that night.  So of course I went, and brought flowers :)  This is Linda D's solo, which I already posted on Facebook.  (Don't worry Linda, you can only get to this on Youtube if you have the link.)  I'm not posting the ensemble piece because she thinks she messed it up, but you couldn't hear it.  It was really nice, and made me think that I wanted to take guitar lessons again, but two things (a) I'm not musically inclined and (b) I don't have the focus it would take to make myself practice how I would need to practice to get good.  I'm not saying I'm not focused or determined, because those of you who know me, know that's not the case, but there's other things I want to concentrate on right now, like the writing that I don't have to work as hard at.  Is that bad? 

Then on Tuesday, I went to visit Alison and play with Edgar. I'm not a dog person, but that dog is seriously the cutest thing ever. Alison is in the midst of a cleaning and re-organizing jag, so I ended up with a stainless steel fry pan, some capers, and some other random condiment things. Yay! I worked on the secret project for Chris and Kristie and made some headway but not a ton. I played with Edgar too much really.

On Wednesday, I got my hair cut. I have so much freaking hair that of course it took over an hour. My hair still appears to be lightening, which is freaking me out because when my father went gray it turned that awful yellow color and I just can't cope with that at all. If I go gray like my mom, where I just have white hairs that come in (those are appearing as well) then I have no problem with that, but the yellow I can't cope with.  So I might go auburn again the next time I get my hair done. 

When I got home on Wednesday, I made Maple Oatmeal Bread from the book I mentioned in my last post.  It was awesome.  I wish I could just buy sliced bread easily, but this really isn't too bad to have to do.  Shawn and I have gone through the book and picked a list of breads to try with the materials I have.  The book focuses on whole grain breads which is better for Shawn's diabetes too, as white bread is like crack.

On Thursday, which was the first night I was home before that week that I actually made it home right after work, I decided to do the Wii Fit since our schedules and the weather have been conspiring against us for us to ride the bikes.  I still find it embarassing that I break out into a sweat doing the Wii Fit. Then I worked on the secret project IV, part A for Sarah for a bit.  I've tried reworking at a larger gauge which gained me some yardage, but I'm going to have to order more.  Argh!

Last night, Shawn and I were supposed to grocery shop, as he is leaving on Sunday for a one day class in Minneapolis (he'll be back Monday night), and I have WWKIP today.  (For the non-knitterly among you, that's World Wide Knit in Public Day.  Which for the Concord Knitting Meetup is laughable because we knit in public at Borders every Sunday.  But today we'll knit in public on the State House lawn.  Here's hoping the weather stays clear.  I'm sure I'll be posting pictures later this weekend.)   But we ended up grabbing dinner first, and then Shawn didn't feel well (not from dinner but from what he ate for lunch), so we came home.  I'm going to go attempt to get him up so that we can go get the grocery shopping done before I have to leave at 9:30 a.m. for Concord.  This should be hilarious.

This concludes our broadcast day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I Could Write a Book (Harry Connick, Jr. version)

It's been a little while since I blogged. It's been a bit crazy here as it always is. Somehow I always manage to make my life barely controlled chaos. And while it's different chaos since I retired from the private practice of law, I'm feeling like I need to take it down a notch again. We'll see how that works for me. Ha, haha, ha.

Anyway in fiber news, I finished lining Kat's wedding purse that I designed and knit in a white cotton. I double lined it so that none of the rough seam edges are exposed either on the inside of the purse or on the outside lace surface, and I used a ribbon with wire it it as a draw string, so that she could arrange the bow in anyway she wants.

I also finished the two helmet liners that I promised Lori A for her husband's deployment. Thanks also to Donna D for sending me one that she had done earlier also. I gave all of them to Lori A and she said if her husband couldn't use them all, he'd pass them on to people who could.

Alison also finished her green devil hat for her cousin's (?) graduation, which she is modeling here. There's like 4-5 people I can think of making this hat for...hmmm.

Last Friday before Memorial Day weekend, Kat had to bring Kenna to work for a bit as she was out of school due to a case a raging poison ivy or sumac. Kat ended up going to a meeting so I had to supervise Kenna for a bit. It took me a while to take down the decorations in my office after she left. And the joke in the first picture was all Kenna's. She asked me to read the sign for her, (she's a very tall six) and then she posed with out me telling her to do it.

Memorial Day weekend was supposed to be my slug marathon. Sort of didn't really work out that way.  Saturday morning, I received both the yarn for the next round of secret projects and the Pampered Chef items for everyone.  So I spent the day sorting all that out and dividing up yarn for everyone.  I have to say though, if you ever get a chance to get the forged knives from Pampered Chef, get them.  They are wonderful. Really, really fricking sharp though.  I did nick myself unpacking them and putting them away.  On Sunday, I worked on designing my contribution to Sarah A's secret project, went to Sunday knitting guild at Borders to dole out Pampered Chef and secret project yarn and visited with my inlaws as my brother-in-law was home.  Then I headed out to Lora K's for a bit to bring her the breadmaker I had borrowed and her yarn for the aforementioned secret projects. 

I had mentioned to Lora K that I was thinking about buying a breadmaker because of the whole milk thing. (Do you know how hard it is to buy sliced bread without milk in it? Try it, let me know how it goes.)   Lora K let me borrow hers to try to see if I liked it, and I ended up buying a breadmaker as well.  I liked Lora's and I found a really great book with help from Linda D for whole grain breads.  It's called Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand, and it has directions for making the bread by hand, with a stand mixer, with a food processor and with a bread machine.  I made the 10 grain bread in the book so far and it was really good. 

I had Monday off for Memorial Day.  Since I had been a loser for the last two months about writing, with the whole milk thing exhaustion going on, I decided that Monday should be a writing marathon day.  I wrote for about 5 and half hours, six hours if you count me cleaning my desk off so I could work.  I wrote the prologue where I have to kill off the main character's sibling.  Then, since originally the main character was an only child, I had to rewrite the rest of it so that the new back story was there.  What surprised me was how upset and grossed out I got, even though I was the one writing it.  And this was a new character, so it wasn't like I was attached.  At this point I have 98 pages and 29,056 words.  The plan for this week is to work on scheduling time to write.  I'm better if I schedule the time, otherwise the current baby wave knitting takes over.

On Wednesday I had knitting guild at the Ewe, and I handed out more secret project yarn and Pampered Chef stuff.  I got to visit with Paula, Fred, Aunt Sue, Alison and Edgar afterward, and I got to have some yummy rhubarb pie.  On Thursday, Lisa E came by to pick up her Pampered Chef stuff and we got to visit for a while. 

This weekend my mother came down for her birthday.  She was early (shocker) and so she got to come to my office and see where I work now and meet Kat and Elaina.  Then we headed back to ManchVegas, picked up my new breadmaker at the office and headed to Yarn and Fiber in Derry to deliver the last of the Pampered Chef and pick up my Lia Sofia earrings from Gina H.  Then it was off to Taipei Tokyo for dinner, since Mom loves it there, and can't get really good Chinese in Maine.  We then came home and made chocolate lava cake for her birthday.  On Saturday we ended up checking out Ocean State Job Lots and we headed up to the Concord Coop to look for a non dairy replacement for nonfat dry milk.  I ended up getting a powered soy milk that I'll try in the bread machine and see how it goes.  

On Saturday, I hit a snag with my part of Sarah A's secret project.  It was using too much yarn.  So I ended up ripping the whole thing up and going up a needle size, which meant regauging and calculating.  But I'm hoping it will work this time.  I have about 4 inches again, and it's looking okay so far.

On Sunday we had a huge turnout at guild at Borders.  I'm not sure what was up with that, but it was good.  Except for the storms and tornado watch thing.  But everything worked out okay, and Shawn got back from Baltimore without a problem.

I also ordered my soda stream. I've been meaning to do it since February, but I finally had the dough to do it.  Since the whole milk allergy thing, I can't drink coffee for my caffeine delivery system.  Well, I can, but I can't stomach the milk replacement products for creamer in place of half and half yet.  Maybe when I've been milk free for six months or so, I won't remember what half and half tastes like and it will be okay.  In the meantime, I'm drinking diet pepsi first thing in the morning and throughout the day.  Plus we have no recycling at the complex (jerks) so this will be better for the environment.  So I got the value pack so I can make the soda and bring it to work as well.  Can't wait to get it.

Lastly, I have a friend that may need a bone marrow transplant shortly.  For any of you reading this, please register to become a donor. You might help save someone you know, and you might help save someone I know.  Here's the link to the American Bone Marrow Donor Registry.  Please consider registering. 

And that's all the news that's fit to print since our last installment.