Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Perfect Pie, A Finished Object, and Something Else That is Finished

This is as close to a perfect apple pie as I have ever made. I even put leaves on it! (Not entirely talent on my part-they are made with punches from William-Sonoma, but who's telling?) Anyhow, the pie is from a Silver Palate recipe, and it always tastes great made with Granny Smith apples. Usually the crust totally splits open and lets the pie juices run all over the place, but this time it stayed together. Yay!

We have Thanksgiving dinner each year with other Georgia orphans (none of us has relatives in Georgia) and we all bring food. I always make the pies, and that has not always been a success. One year I brushed the top crust with beaten egg yolks, having read that this makes the top nice and brown. What I didn't read was the part of the directions that said to mix the yolks with water, and the top of my pie was a yucky yellow. Ooops. Then there was the year that I made the pumpkin pie with brandy or whiskey or some other liquor. I don't remember which, but it was not a hit.
Now for something completely different. This is my most recently finished project - a ribbed scarf made from three skeins of de.Ve Autunno, a wonderfully soft merino yarn. It's just a k4, p4 ribbing, made across 28 stitches. It's not entirely successful, however, since the ribbing does what ribbing is supposed to do, which is to pull together. This makes for a narrow scarf. I tried blocking it, but that made the fabric too thin. So I held a steam iron a few inches above the scarf, and the ribs pulled back together. It's a good thing the scarf is long - five feet long, so it can go around and around the neck in case of really cold weather.

Now for something really completely different:

Bravo, stick a fork in me. I'm done. With the Housewives. I don't know if I changed or the show changed or it's the constant bad news about the economy. Maybe it's remembering hearing Barack Obama say something like "We're a better country than this," referring to poverty, hunger, and the lack of health insurance for so many people in this country. I watched the first episode of the new season of The Real Housewives of Orange County last Wednesday night and was appalled by it. The women just want MORE. The excess was just so....excessive.

So that's one addiction gone. Now for knitting - just kidding. That one I'll keep!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Help Me Rhonda!

While I was making dinner tonight, I turned on the television to keep me company. Lo and behold, The Real Housewives of Atlanta was on. I've never seen the show, thinking that I really need to get a life if that's what I have time for. But during the show, there was an announcement that the new season of The Real Housewives of Orange County begins tomorrow night.


I hate to admit this, but I became absolutely addicted to this show during season two.


These women are mind-bogglingly rich and mind-numbingly shallow.

Is my diamond bigger than Lauri's?

OMG, George (see, I even know all the names. Not proud.) just gave Lauri a Mercedes that's not even on the market yet. She gets everything handed to her and look how hard I work for everything I have. (whines Vicki, the workaholic control freak...oh Gawd, I'm so invested I even analyze the characters.)

SHE thinks SHE'S the hottest Orange County housewife? As if.....

So yes, I'm hooked. I AM NOT PROUD OF THIS.

But tomorrow night at ten p.m., I'll be watching.

(photo from Real Housewives of Orange County official website)

Lazy Monday

I'm lazy today, so I'll quote other people instead of writing.

From Groucho Marx by way of hokgardner:
Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.
(We English teachers love plays on words.)

From Woody Allen by way of the Yarn Harlot:
Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.

Parents - Here are two things you can use, if you are a bit ....I'm not sure what the word is.

Two of my friends had rather unsympathetic fathers. When one friend and her brother complained about anything that had gone wrong in their lives, this is what they heard:

Worse things have happened to better people. (ouch!)

And the other, when she called home after failing a paper, heard:

If you're looking for sympathy, you'll find it in the dictionary between sh*t and syphilis.

Yikes! That was the last time she even thought about looking for sympathy from him!

Friday, November 21, 2008

If All the Other Kids Jumped off a Bridge

Would I jump too?
Apparently it's a possibility. At knit-night last night, one of the knitters was making this gorgeous scarf. She found it via The Yarn Harlot's site and fell in love, and so did the three of us who are now knitting the same scarf. It takes four skeins of Noro Silk Garden in two (or more) different colors. No two will be alike, of course, so we're not totally copycats....but close.

(To see more combinations of Noro yarn worked into this scarf, go here.)

(Photo from Brooklyn Tweed website)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Georgia, Georgia, Georgia

It's embarrassing to live in a state like Georgia. We're near, if not at, the bottom of any educational achievement scores in the country; we have a governor who prays for rain in a drought, but who has done nothing to come up with a plan to have reservoirs to help deal with future droughts (if this one will EVER end); and now the Georgia Medical Board has ruled that "because the flu vaccine is considered a 'dangerous' drug, it should not be administered without a doctor's order", i.e., a prescription. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/18/08)

No wonder DH found lines at CVS over the weekend when he tried to get a shot. The Governor has said that the state will not prosecute anyone who gives a shot to someone without a prescription, but Kroger and Publix, who have 327 pharmacies in the state, will not administer flu shots to those without prescriptions. CVS, Walgreens and others are throwing caution to the wind and giving shots to anyone who wishes to get one.

I imagine that this screwup will keep some people from getting shots and others will end up paying their co-pay at a doctor's office in order to get the shot, plus the cost of the shot, which isn't usually covered by insurance.

Way to go, Georgia.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I am a kind and generous person.

Usually, I am, really!

However, when I bought this yarn during last week's Knit Night, I intended to use it to make a new Elizabeth Zimmerman Surprise Jacket for Elizabeth A. The yarn is Araucania, Ranco multy, 75% wool, 25% polyamide. It's wonderfully soft and would make a great jacket, probably.

BUT, I love the yarn and am very curious about what the fabric knit from it would look like, and so I changed my mind; it may end up being socks for me. I rationalize this by thinking that the yarn's weight, sport, may not be enough heavier than the sock yarn I used for the original jacket in order to make the jacket larger. H says that Elizabeth is growing out of the first jacket and so I will keep looking for something striping and pretty, but in a DK weight.

I do pay the price, however, for keeping this yarn for myself. It is a bit heavier than sock yarn, and that means that I will have to knit a *shudder* gauge swatch to figure out what size needles to use.



Well, I was tagged by hokgardner and I am supposed to write seven random things about me. Here goes (but it's hard to come up with seven).

1. Some members of my family (well, maybe all of them) would say that I have tacky tastes. True, I do love shiny, sparkly. And when it was a fad, I really loved street glow, a neon light strip of color that was installed around the underside of the car. When the streets were wet, that blue/purple color just, well, glowed. I loved it.

2. I have a weird sense of humor. When street glow was available, we had two cars: an MGB and a Chevy Celebrity big honking station wagon. If I could have had street glow, I would have put it on/under the Chevy Celebrity.

3. If I could be any type of designer, I would be a lighting designer. I have absolutely no talent for this, but I love all types of lighting. Just last week I was in a lighting store and saw a chandelier that stopped me in my tracks. It was a seven-foot tall spiral of glittering lead crystal pendant thingies (see, I'm no designer) and small mirrors. It was stunning, and over $7,000. (Some members of my family would say that that sounds very tacky.)

4. I am apparently competitive. I went to school before the law required sports programs for girls and I missed out on the whole team sports thing. As a result, my competitiveness comes out when I play Monopoly. It's not pretty. I will not play Monopoly with my family; that's not a problem since they won't play with me either.

5. I would like to have gone to law school. When I was growing up, I never heard of a woman lawyer, and it didn't occur to me that a woman could be a lawyer until I met one when I was thirty. The world has changed.... I wouldn't have been a trial lawyer; I hate to lose (see #4) but I would like to have taught law, I think.

6. After listening to news and interviews about and with Michelle Obama, I wished that I had applied to Ivy League schools. I'm no dummy and I maybe could have gotten in. What must it be like to get that sort of education? But that was not on the radar when I was a kid. Sigh. Born too soon....

7. I hate cold weather. Very much. It was 33 degrees when I got up this morning and had to go out to get the paper. Almost not worth it.

Well, that's it! Phew...

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Never-ending Scarf

finally did actually have an end!

I just finished it and I love it, although I certainly won't be making another. It was knit from nine-hundred and sixteen yards (four skeins) of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, colors 579 and 597. It took FOREVER. The yarn is mohair and as thin as sewing thread.

But the scarf is about seven feet long, soft and warm. I can't wait to wear it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not My Fault

My enabler was with me.

I went this past weekend to North Carolina for the Piedmont Craftsmen's Fair, a juried show of all sorts of crafts, held in Winston-Salem. I walked by a booth where a man was selling purses he makes himself, and this purse just plain old jumped out in front of me. It did!

I resisted for awhile, because it was, as my husband's grandmother used to say, "dear." But my friend K was with me, and she talked me into buying it. "It's a lifetime purse," she said.

Really, this picture doesn't do it justice. It's gorgeous. And handmade. Turquoise is my favorite color, and I had already decided that I wanted cowboy boots for Christmas. Not working boots, just beautiful leather boots with turquoise on them somewhere. But then I saw this purse. Did I mention that it's gorgeous?

So K was the enabler on this, but then at a different place, we came across a woven afghan, made by a woman who is famous in the textile/weaving world, AND it was on sale. I told my friend, who was petting and fondling the afghan, that she just had to buy it. And she did.

So we're even.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Missing: One Spoon

Before my mother-in-law died, she requested that her personal belongings go to her grandchildren, based on what items they requested. Younger daughter asked for this necklace, and since no one else did, she was lucky to receive it. It's beautiful - all the stones are star sapphires. It's hard to tell from the photo, but they are really quite stunning.

Older daughter received my mother-in-law's silver, minus a few pieces that went to younger daughter. DH brought everything back from his mother's home in NY and I spent an evening with everything scattered around me on the carpet in order to sort it all out to mail. The one thing that was a puzzle was the missing baby spoon. The fork was there, engraved with my mother-in-law's initials. Since new baby Elizabeth's middle name is Anne, after her mother and her great-grandmother, I thought that she should have the baby silver.

But where was the spoon? I looked and looked and no luck. Meanwhile, I was sorting out serving pieces and a few odd things, and there was the strangest-looking spoon I had ever seen. What on earth was it for? It was bent really strangely, and I thought that maybe it was for a jam pot or something. No, that wouldn't work....

I pulled out the inventory list: no mention of a bent spoon. Then I pulled out the more complete inventory list that had pictures on it and there was that spoon - it was the missing baby spoon. Weird looking thing, really. I imagined feeding a baby with it, and it would work ok, but I wonder that the parents couldn't just use a normal baby spoon. It has no engraving on it, so I couldn't match it that way, and really, without the photograph, I would never have guessed what it was. Would you have guessed what it was?

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Two years ago in September, younger daughter crammed as much as possible in her Honda Civic and drove alone (scary for her mother) from Atlanta to Los Angeles to start a new job. She had wanted to move there for a long time, and finally all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. A friend already out there needed a new roommate and called S. S researched the top architecture and design firms there, sent out resumes and flew out for interviews.

She was immediately offered a job by one of the top five firms in Los Angeles! She started September 12th, 2006, and it has been a rush towards the top since then.

Yesterday she received a whopping promotion! The only jobs above her are: director and then own-your-own firm.

S - Stand in front of a mirror, pat yourself on the back for us, and then, while pumping your fist in the air, say what your nephew says, "I did it!"


(Sorry, S, about the photo. It's the best one I had in my computer)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Needed: One Nerd

I am having a problem with my blog's stat counter. It keeps telling me that I need to enable cookies on my computer in order not to have to sign in each time I go to the site. BUT, when I tried to download an Audible book, the nice man at the help desk told me I first had to delete cookies. I followed his instructions, deleted the cookies, downloaded the book, and everything worked out fine. But just how had those cookies I deleted gotten there in the first place if my computer wasn't set up to enable cookies?

I then followed the stat counter's instructions to enable cookies. It didn't work. I still have to sign in every time I go to the site. Sigh......

Monday, November 10, 2008


Finally, but it IS late. This is a ruana I knit for older daughter. It was supposed to be finished before baby E was born, but she decided to arrive five weeks early. It seemed to me to be the perfect garment for someone who is and then is not pregnant. It is made from three skeins of Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn (wool) and four skeins of Filatura Di Crosa yarn (mostly mohair). It is really, really easy to make - just three panels, two with cables on them. I think it could have an almost unlimited range of options: more cables, no cables, inserts of different lace patterns. The two front panels are kept on holders, then joined on one needle to knit the back directly from the live stitches. No sewing needed. It did require that I learn a new way to repair mistakes, and that was a plus also.

H says that it is perfect for Austin winters. So I put this in the success column. :-)

Friday, November 7, 2008

OK, I give up.

Some days there is nothing I can do but to admit that Mrs. G. is just way more clever and intelligent and more CLEVER (did I already say that?) than I am. So go check out this post. I love it.....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Remove Thumb

This is one of my favorite cold-weather recipes, but today, I had an accident. Apparently it's not a good idea to chop carrots and talk on the phone at the same time. I really, really, really chopped into my thumb while trying to hold the phone on my shoulder with my chin. I aimed wrong, I guess. OUCH! My husband says it doesn't need stitches but I may come to regret listening to him, since he never sees anything as an emergency. His father was a surgeon, and according to my husband, the kids never saw a doctor for anything, even for my husband's broken arm. His parents told him to stop complaining, and a week or so later, when dh was at the hospital on rounds with his father, he had an xray taken. Lo and behold, the arm had been broken, but was in the process of healing. Sort of like the shoemaker's sons having no shoes, I guess.

Anyway, here's the Slow Cooker Recipe:

Tuscan Pot Roast from Real Simple magazine:

Egg noodles on the side will soak up the delicious gravy.
1/3 cup olive oil
1 2 1/2- to 3-pound bottom-round pot roast
2 large onions, quartered
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (2 cups)
2 large carrots, thinly sliced (2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 1/2-ounce package dried mushrooms (such as portobello)
1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, chopped, liquid reserved

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the roast on all sides. Transfer the roast to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. To the fat remaining in the skillet, add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables; transfer to the cooker. Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add the contents of the skillet to the cooker, along with the mushrooms, salt, oregano, and tomatoes (plus 1 cup of their liquid). Cook 8 hours on low heat, or 4 hours on high heat.Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

Using fresh mushrooms, added for the last half hour or so of cooking, works out better than using dried mushrooms.

Try it! It's great! (minus the thumb, of course)

Postscript, added two hours into cooking. The power went out! Damn.... It's been off for a half an hour so far. Maybe the thumb accident and now no power means I am not meant to cook!