Monday, May 30, 2011

Wreck of the Day

Okay, this is one of the last three things I had to do on my crazy list of things to accomplish today.  If you haven't been following along on facebook I did eight loads of laundry, made a country white bread with some oat flour and a honey wheat germ wheat bread, put all my receipts from May 5 forward into my checkbook, balanced it and paid bills, made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and experimented with hotter buffalo wings for lunch.  After this post is complete, all I will have left is making dinner, which will be bourbon marinated steak tips from McKinnons, and whatever else I figure out for sides, and working on Secret Baby Project #2 for Kat. 

It's been a crazy busy week and month.  This week I was out a lot.  Thursday I hung out at Alison's and that evening I finished Secret Baby Project #1 for Kat around midnight.  I do get obsessive at the end of a project and it had to be finished that evening.  For those of you on Ravelry you can check it out.  I can't unveil it here until I give it to Kat.  On Friday night I met my friend Lisa E at Golden Bowl for dinner and then after talking there for two hours, we headed over to Strange Brew for a beer.  They have a good beer menu for NH, but it's still not that extensive (given that I used to live about 3-4 blocks from the Sunset Grill in Allston).  The band was so freaking loud that I had to yell across the table so that Lisa could hear me, so the next day I felt like I'd screamed for a couple of hours.  I didn't get home until about 11:30 or so, and when I got home I still had to pack up some things to visit Nan the next day. 

Years and years ago, Nan lent me a 4 harness loom.  The thing is, I haven't touched it since we moved into this apartment.  Which was somewhere around 5-6 years ago, I think.  So on Saturday, I brought it back up to her so she could pass it onto those who would get more use out of it, since she's been giving some looms and supplies to one of her causes.  I wish I could have been a weaver, but it's not my thing, I guess.  I look at the things Katie K does and salivate, but it's apparently not something I can make myself do.  The thought really aggravates me, but I suppose there's only so much I can do.  I hadn't seen Nan in about a year and a half or so, and it was really good to see her.  She gave us some really lovely asparagus from her patch too. But after three hours of laughing at her house, added onto the effects of talking to Lisa at Strange Brew the night before, my throat was killing me.  So Saturday night I took about a 4 hour nap, woke up at 10 pm, ate dinner and knit until 2:00 am, and went back to bed.

On Sunday, I worked on Secret Baby Project #2 for Kat (it's on Ravelry for the knitters but again I can't reveal anything here until I give it to Kat), in the morning before guild and at guild.  After I got home from guild, Shawn and I went to McKinnons in Salem to stock up on some meat products and grab something to cook for dinner.  I found some Boar's Head hot dogs that were dairy and gluten free, as well as some Arnold's hot dog buns that had no milk or egg in them.  I just about cried really.  So we came home and I fried hot dogs in my cast iron fry pan to get that grilled effect, and caramelized some onions.  They were so good. 
The garden has been coming along.  I have flowers on the cherry tomatoes and one of the pepper plants in the window boxes.  I'm very curious to see if I'm going to get any thing or not.

In writing news, there hasn't been any this month.  I've completely blown my goal for the month.  There's just been too much going on, and I've not been focused on it.  So I need to get my act together.  How crazy would it be to try to make it up in June?  I'll have to ponder that.

Well, that's it for this week.  Stay tuned for further updates.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Some Other Spring - Part IV

Okay, almost up to date! Woo Hoo!  As some of you know, I'm writing a novel.  It is not high literature, it is supposed to be just a "fun read," i.e. trashy, and/or mind jello.  I have no delusions of literary greatness.  In any case, I most recently needed to figure out now to blow up a truck on a five to ten minute time delay only using what was available, after my idiot character blew someone away without planning ahead as to how to get rid of the body.  So I had talked to my mom (apparently, you don't want to cross my mom), and she had suggested using baling twine (novel is set in rural Maine) as a long wick into the gas tank of the truck.  So that's how I wrote it.  But I began wondering if that would really work.  So I mentioned to my assistant at work that I might want to run down to an Agway at lunch to see if I could talk someone into giving me a foot of baling twine.  She thought her husband might have some, so on Friday she brought me in four different kinds of rope and twine.

Coincidentally on Saturday we had a meeting of my writing group, the Misplaced Modifiers, at Mary S's house.  So I packed up the samples, a metal bowl to put water in, some metal tongs, and one of my Jetboil PCS's, and at the meeting Mary gave us the go ahead to burn stuff in her driveway. 

This is me lighting up the Jetboil to use as our ignition source.

Mary Kate is getting ready to document our first rope being burned.

First rope, cotton clothes line apparently.

Burns in the flame of the jetboil.

But smoldered out quickly.

Next we did some twine that wasn't baling twine, but looked like a similar material.  (Did some research on the Internet.  Did you know there are Internet forums on haying?  Me neither. Anyway, found out that traditional baling twine is made of sisal).   It burned in the flame, and burned for a little after, but went out quickly.

Then we tried the rope, which looked like it was made of plant fiber, so I split the plies down, until we got it to the size of baling twine.

It didn't burn so well either. 

We also had a bit of plastic rope, which none of us thought would work, but we burned it anyway, and we were right. It melted nicely though.

So then we decided to get serious and luckily, Mary S had some gasoline around.  So we took some more of the rope, split it down again, and dipped it in the gasoline. 

I decided to be somewhat safety conscious and used the metal tongs to hold it over the Jetboil.

It burned much better, but still went out fairly quickly after it had run through the part where we dipped it in gas.

So anyway, the consensus was that it probably wouldn't have worked for the amount of twine that I had laid out.  So now I have to investigate other ways to blow up a truck on a time delay. 

On Sunday, we went to have dinner with Mary Kate and Daniel (pizza, with fake cheese for me and Mary Kate and real pizza for Shawn and Daniel).  The reason that we went is that I had run into Mary Kate and Daniel at NH Sheep & Wool, and was told that Daniel was thinking about spinning.  I, as a fiber enabler, of course, offered to teach Daniel to spin if he wished.  So apparently it planted a seed, and Mary Kate called me to set up a time to do it. 

I have today off because I've been burning the candle at both ends, and I haven't taken a vacation day since December.  So I was going to do all kinds of things today, but I think the blog catch up is enough.  Kiwi has been so bored by all this blogging that she's figured out how to walk around on the bottom of her cage.  

So that's it for now.  Hopefully, I'll get back in a regular schedule. 

Some Other Spring, Part III

Okay, here we go again.  Sunday the 15th, I headed to the NH Sheep & Wool Festival in Hopkinton to meet up with Katie K and wander around and have lunch after as we always do.  It was a bit rainy and wet, but not as bad as I've seen it in previous years.  Unfortunately, I was having such a good time talking to Katie, that I forgot to take any pictures for the blog.  Oh well.  And I have to confess...under the 2011 Yarn & Fiber Stash Reduction Plan, I was not supposed to buy any yarn at this event.  However, I stopped by the lovely Heather S's booth, Mad Color Fiber Arts, and with her evil and malicious incredible dyeing skills, had two lovely skeins in a purple blue and green colorway called Belladonna, which I had to buy.  It's totally all her fault.  How could she not know that I would be forced to buy that?  Anyway, for those of you who are not trying to reduce your fiber purchasing, check out her stuff, it's gorgeous.

On Tuesday of last week, I had dinner with the Jetboil and ex-Jetboil crew.  We had a good turnout and it was a lot of fun.  I got to meet Kristin's new addition finally.  Please excuse the cruddy blackberry picture again.  He was as good as gold and he was studying everyone carefully.  He was adorable.

On Friday, Lora K and I went down to the Derry knitting group at Yarn & Fiber to celebrate Gina H's and Caroline C's birthdays.  I meant to bring my real camera, but I forgot, so again, blackberry photography, sorry.

 Jackie got the cake with the tree and the ladybugs from Hannaford, it was really pretty. 

As I have a lot of pictures to document the last two days of my weekend, so ends part III.  Stay tuned for part IV.

Some Other Spring, Part II

To continue, we attended Shawn's uncle Jeff's 50th birthday party on Mother's Day weekend.  Shawn's parents were out of town, and my mother really isn't invested in Hallmark holidays.  It was a fun time, but it was a little disturbing for me to realize that I'm only about ten years younger than he is, since I'll be forty in February.   I apologize for the really crappy picture.  I forgot my camera, and my blackberry takes really yucky photos.

To digress a bit, some of you know that I'm thinking about a knitting tattoo for my 40th birthday. I'm thinking about getting a dragon that's knitting surround with balls of yarn with a caption that says "Yarned & Dangerous" underneath.  The picture is close, but I want the dragon to be sitting up and knitting and I want the swirls to be balls of yarn.  I need to get in touch with a couple of places to see who could draw that for me, but I've been a might busy.  Maybe today, since I'm off I can send out emails.

The weekend of May 14 and 15 was full of fibery goodness.  Stephie S and I braved the crowds and the madness and went to the annual WEBS tent sale on Saturday.  It was crazily insane (I usually go on Sunday when it's not quite so nuts). 

I did not quite follow the 2011 Yarn & Fiber Stash Reduction Plan, as I was somewhat over optimistic as to the level of savings I could achieve, but I did good and got some killer deals. I managed to get enough yarn to do three sweaters and three shawls or five sweaters and one shawl depending on what I do with the yarn, and I got some more of the sparkly stuff to design the sweater I'm planning.  I didn't think the one skein I already had was going to do it.  So anyway, here's pictures of the haul.


For one of the shawls I picked up Noro's laceweight, which I had not seen before.  I really like it, and it seems much softer than normal Noro.


This is the sparkly stuff.  It's Artyarns Beaded Pearl and Sequin and the base yarn is silk.  It's gorgeous stuff.  And I got it on discount, so that's good.

This is one of WEBS brand yarns. It's Valley Yarns Huntington and I think I'm going to do a lightweight short sleeve sweater for work.  It's about a fingering weight I believe. 

This is a merino tencel yarn, Valley Yarns 2/10 Colrain Lace, and what's funny about this, is that when I got home and went to log it into my inventory in Ravelry, I discovered that I bought two cones of it at the tent sale last year.  I must really like it, but I did get a good deal on it too.

 This 2/14 in Alpaca and Silk.  It's really gorgeous, and I got a killer deal on it.

This is alpaca and silk boucle from Bristol Yarns Gallery and it's called Yardley.  I'm hoping to do another short sleeved shell for work in it.

This is Nashua Creative Focus Cotton, and I'm hoping to do a light summer casual sweater in it.

Stephie and I went to a new Asian restaurant in Northampton, as the place we normally go had changed hands.  So we went to a place called Zen which was across the street.  It was really very good, and we enjoyed it after the whole insanity of the sale.  I managed to make it home by about 5:00 pm ish.

So ends Part II, to prevent me from going insane from picture formatting.  Stay tuned for Part III.

Some Other Spring

Prepare for an onslaught.  I haven't blogged in just about over a month, and a lot has been going on. 

 In my last blog post, I wasn't sure if I was going to make my writing goal for April. I did, and now have 89,723 words. However, I haven't written a word for May, as of this morning. This may change as I have today off, but we'll see. I also have had a lot of social and fiber events going on, and I have been infected by spring. So I put a garden on the balcony. 

There is a cherry tomato plant in the topsy turvey for tomatoes, and jalapenos, serranos,  and some other pepper I can't remember in the topsy turvey for peppers.  I have a regular tomato plant, zucchini, and cucumbers in the big pots. 

In the window boxes, I have cilantro, sage, dill, scotch bonnet peppers, some other pepper I can't remember, spearmint for mojitos, rosemary, greek oregano, and basil.  So since the day I finished hauling all the soil and the plants up the stairs, and almost killed myself trying to get the tomato topsy turvey installed, it has rained every day.  Hilarious.

I also finally managed to decorate my office and get my diplomas and crap up on the walls after nearly a year and a half of being at my job. 

You might note that I very much enjoy Van Gogh.  I would have liked to get a Georgia O'Keefe (who is another of my favorites) but the selection was limited on my budget shopping in the poster department of Michael's and AC Moore.  The lighting made it pretty impossible to get decent pictures with the glare from the poster frames, so if you can't tell its the Irises, in the picture on the left.

I also decorated the hallway a bit. (If you click the pictures, they'll get bigger, but I got a poster of sea shells and got some matching seashells and put them in a square glass vase. 

Also for the knitterly among you, who weren't around for the wedding knitting madness, the wreath in the picture with my wedding photos is the wreath I knit for the gazebo that we got married in front of at the York Harbor Inn.

I'm going to continue on in a further post, because trying to format all the pictures is making me nuts.  So stay tuned for Part II.