Monday, April 23, 2012

Mid-April Project Progress.......

First off, Happy Six Month Anniversary to my Husband. These were my anniversary flowers.  :)


 What is this? This is the pattern for the Season 1 Star Trek TNG Deanna Troi uniform.  Do you know what that means? it means that it's about a month from BayCon and I really really need to get my trek costume together! My thrifting has gone very well for my 7th Dr. (female version), so this is the biggest project I have right now. It's a big sewing project for me since I don't really have any skill in sewing. I'm hoping I can go to a fabric store next weekend with someone who knows how to pick the right fabric for a project.  I'll let you know how it goes, of course.

And do you remember about the mis-matched sasquatch socks? When I went to purchase the yarn to match those socks....I fell down and ended up with way too much sock yarn. You can see the two balls I actually needed in the bottom right corner of the picture. Whoops.

But look at this! A finished project! With all that new sock yarn coming in, I had to start making some room. This is my 2nd pair of finished socks from stitches yarn - that's THIS YEAR'S stitches yarn! This is what happens when you buy yarn that you're excited about. I'll probably only make it half way through my 15 skiens of stitches sock yarn, but at least that's farther than most people get right off. And besides, with that much sock yarn, I can definitely get a jump on my making my Christmas socks. I owe my stepdad a couple pairs from last year when I made his too small.

And here we have last week's progress on my next pair of stitches socks next to my management textbook. I took this pic before I got back from my business trip. I didn't get too far on the socks as I had to read some of this book. So far, I can't tell if it's going to be a useful book for me or not - but but it is interesting. If only I'd been managing for less than 90 days...... Although check out those lovely colors in my stitches yarn! I hope you think it's nice as I have 5 balls of it, which translates to 5 or 6 pairs of socks.
 I have a couple of more projects in progress. A couple of these are shown in this post. These are premie socks for the hospital.
And this is my 2nd daybreak. Although the colors turned out a little strange........

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Canning Day!

Two weeks ago my friend Rae and I had a canning day! Not familiar with Canning? It should probably be called's a method of preserving food (in my case, cooked food in a jar). We made a lot of things, since we only worked for about 3 hours once we got started.  We're planning another canning day this Sunday (fingers crossed).

So, I figured, why not walk you through some canning points while using pictures to illustrate?

First off, you need a lot of stuff to can. What I've shown to the side are some of the ingredients we used.

For this past experiment in preserving, we had strawberries (which we didn't use), cans (jars), lids, honey, blueberries, lemons, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, oranges, limes, jalepenos, get the picture.  What this all adds up to is a lot of shopping (or fruit picking if you're lucky) and some good time spent organizing and planning.

You also end up spending a lot of time in food prep. What I'm showing here are some pictures of the work. Those green things? Those are jalepenos. I learned a few things while working with fresh jalepenos - one of those things is that even if you wash your hands a few times, you still shouldn't touch your eyes or your face. You will still be in horrible pain hours later - and yes, it gets worse if you wash your face......
 And yes, canning involves a need for acid. Although you end up using a lot of sweets and fruit, you also end up using really sour fruits, like lemons, for more citric acid. Here are just a few of the ones that we used to make some lemon-blueberry marmalade. And you know what? I didn't think that lemon-blueberry would taste very good, but it's delicious! I wish I hadn't canned it into such large jars, since I would rather have had a multitude of little jars that I could give away and open at different times. Now I have 1 big jar (the person who canned with me has the other) and I'm hesistating on opening it becuase I don't want to have to use up the whole damn thing!

 And this to the right is what heaven looks like while it's still cooking. What's heaven? Heaven is whole orange slices which are boiled into submission in an ooze of honey and melted granulated sugar -  with a spice bag of cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice. This is a super simple recipe out of one of my two canning books. It's simply called "orange slices in honey" and that's exactly what it is. Before this, I didn't think that you could eat whole orange slices -  but you totally can. Lots of people were leery, but they found out that if you put a little of this on a piece of bread with a nice soft cheese - goat being our favorite, it's heaven.

But enough in-proceess pics, here are the finished products for you to ogle.

2 Hugemongous jars of blueberry lemon marmalade
6 jars of jalepeno jam 


4 and 1/2 jars of orange slices in honey.

My haul was half of the canning we did that day, plus the half jar of oranges.

One thing I love about canning (besides how much fun it is to share) is how beautiful it looks!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April Post with some Mark India Pics

It's April! I figured I had been neglecting my usual tally, so I'm going to have to try to catch up on my stats. Sadly, I haven't been keeping great track, but here's where I am so far as I can tell:

  • January: Pair of socks for me
  • Feb: Sweater for me
  • March: Socks for the Lorien (with new stitches yarn!), 2 mismatched Sasquatch socks
  • April so far: Socks for me (with new stitches yarn)
  • Selfish ratio: 3/5%

And now, some pics of the fabled mis-matched socks and India from the end of March. Finished sock and in-progress shawl pics coming shortly....along with canning pics.

The story of the mis-matched socks:

Once upon a time a quite experienced knitter went to a yarn store and picked up two matching balls of yarn. The knitter was thinking about her friend, the recipient of the Sasquatch socks. She knew he needed more socks and this was her idea of what to do on her long flights. Yay. However, halfway through the leg of the sock, the Knitter realized that the socks were turning out differently. Can you see the difference in the picture of me on the plane below?

Here's my coworkers and I at a nice barbeque place. That's barbeque on the table there in front of us.

And here I am with the mis-matched sasquatch socks at the Dubai Airport. They grew! But I didn't finish them until later that week.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Working for the Weekend?

Hey Peeps,

So, I'm sitting here with my Husbean, Smartest Monkey.  We're watching Stargate SG1 (the entire series, a couple episodes per a night), and he's working. This is the part I don't like about being a silicon valley corporate automaton. Either I'm working all nights and weekends for months on end, or he is. To his credit, this is really good work-ethic. If I were him, knowing I'd be going in for surgery tomorrow, I'd probably be saying "screw it" to the most recent drop-everything-now project and taking a break for some me-time. Or, as the recent muppet movie called it, a Me Party. (Don't get me started on what that made me think of).

But we're hard workers, so he's tirelessly coding on some project while the hours count down to bedtime and he gets ready to have his sinuses drilled into. mmmmm How's that for a mental picture?

But it's not all bad. We spent a lot of time being social this weekend, which was lovely. First we had a number of friends over on Friday night for a potluck - the theme of which was the letter G. This meant things like Garlic, Guiness, Gouda, Goat Cheese, etc. were had. On Saturday we headed over to a friend's place to watch Evil Dead 2 and 3 and then the newest Muppet Movie. Then, today, we had a lovely brew day at our friend's place where I got to wrangle some friend's children and introduce them to my spinning wheel.

None of this would have been possible a few months ago when I was spending all weekend every weekend head-down working.  While I feel incredibly lucky to have a job right now, seeing what a number of my friends are going through in the job-market with this crappy economy, I do feel a little sad that having a job has come to generally mean working around the clock. Sometimes I wish there was more of a compromise.  Right now I'm in a lucky "slow" time where I can take most of my weekend for myself. I also almost don't feel guilty for it. Almost.

Because I studied politics in school, and business, I wonder where this is heading the US as a country.  Are we going to end up working ourselves as hard as possible until burn-out and replacement by new staff who are dying to have any job because the alternative is poverty and unemployment? Are all the labor wins that unions fought for over the years going to be eroded by rhetoric and manipulation? Sometimes I worry about the world that the next generation is going to inhabit. Sometimes I wonder if retirement will exist by the time I'm old enough for it - or if there will be an "old enough" for retirement over time.

But, for now, I'll do the laundry and prepare dinner, kiss my husbean while he codes, and log in to work, myself, to prepare for Monday morning by working Sunday night.