Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Someone (I don't know who, but if I find out, there will be issues) decided to turn off the freaking heat on my floor of my office building last night. My office is always one of the coldest rooms in the building (as it seems we do not have a working radiator, and do have a giant picture window), and this morning, it is SO COLD.

Picture me, huddled at my desk wearing my warmest sweater, my hat, and my scarf wrapped around my neck as many times as it will wrap, and I am STILL cold.

And very cranky.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A little like potato chips

When I saw people posting about Brooklyn Tweed's gorgeous striped Noro scarf, I just knew that this might be the pattern to finally get me to try some Noro.

When I was in Alexandria in December for a wedding, and wandered into Knit Happens to kill a little time before the wedding, I was happy to see that they had the Silk Garden I needed. Wiley helped me pick out two colors - he picked a pair that were a bit on the matchy side, but that has turned out to not matter very much.

Noro Striped Scarf

This has been my mindless knitting for the past few weeks, and they are as delightfully fun as Sandy says they are. Definitely boring knitting (that's what mindless knitting is for) but the color shifts are endlessly entertaining. I keep stopping knitting to admire the colors. Productive, it is not, but definitely enjoyable. It keeps pulling me back, despite having plenty of other projects I could be working on instead.

This pic is a little over exposed, but shows the colors much more nicely. Someday, I'll get better at this photography thing.

Noro Striped Scarf

Saturday, February 16, 2008

C is for...

C is for Cheese

C was a tough one, because there are many choices I could use for C. Cotton, cats, Cosmo (one of the three cats), corriedale (the fiber I learned to spin with) are just a few. But cheese. Cheese and I go way back. When I was a kid, my mother used to laugh at me and my Dad, calling us a pair or rats, because we both loved cheese - and not just the kid friendly American and cheddar, either. I loved pretty much every one I ever tried.

Today is little different. When dining out, I'll nearly always eschew dessert in favor of the cheese plate (unless that was my appetizer). I own a cookbook that is entirely Grilled Cheese recipes. I have encountered one cheese in my life so far that I didn't like (and even that one, I could have developed a taste for it, I bet, but I wasn't in a headspace to force it that day.), and I've gone out of my way to find cheeses that are hard to love.

I'm blessed (though my waistline is not) to have a little wine and cheese shop right down the street from my office. It's no Formaggio Kitchen, but it's close, the owner knows and loves cheese as much as I do, and they can always be counted on to have something delicious. They know me by name.

Someday, I will learn to make my own. Until then, I'll have to content myself with enjoying the fruits of other's labor, and with lunches like these.

C is for Cheese
Grilled Cheddar and ham with fresh thyme
and mustard on whole wheat bread.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An entirely non-knitting question

So, was talking to one of my co-workers yesterday, complaining about it was so cold on Monday night that even wearing extra layers and bundled under my normally entirely warm enough down throw, I was *still* cold (and too damn cheap to turn up the heat, I added).

He told me that he and his wife had added a humidifier onto their furnace, and that it gently humidifies the entire house in the winter - his point was that it makes the same heat setting feel warmer, but I'm thinking it sounds awesome for a million reasons, since the cold dry air in the winter is murder.

We did some looking today on the vast intarwebs, found that they're not super expensive (in the $200-300 range), relatively easily installable (may need a plumber), have a significantly lower cost of operation, and should work with our furnace (sadly, for many, it only works with forced hot air heating systems).

I'm wondering if anyone out there in Blog-land has used one and has anything to share, good or bad, about them.

Part of me is thinking that if they were as wonderful as they seem, they'd be a lot more common. Part of me is really hoping they ARE all that and a bag of chips.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The new wheel

Last spring, my husband came home from an outing with Widget one Saturday morning all excited, and with a surprise for me, that he'd found at a tag sale. His surprises are sometimes, well, surprising, so I was a little nervous as I waited in the living room while he brought his treasure in from the car.

Imagine my surprise when he walked in with a spinning wheel! Imagine my even greater surprise when it was an actual working wheel, with all the parts that it needed to work correctly.

It was clearly in sad shape, having been stored in someone's garage for goodness only knows how long, but it did clearly have all the parts that it needed, except a drive band. It even had its original manual, so I knew that it was a Country Craftsman wheel, so only a replica of an antique and not an actual one. Even better, although the wheels are no longer made, I could still buy bobbins and such for it.

But, I've been slow to really get into the spinning thing (even though I love it when I do it) and I've been working, slowly, on getting to know my Louet, so the new wheel sat and looked (kind of) pretty in the living room. I was a little scared of it - especially after being completely unable to work any kind of wheel at Yarn School other than the same Louet I had at home - and I didn't want to waste my limited spinning time fighting with a wheel I wasn't even sure worked.

I was struck this week that it was a little silly having this big old wheel sitting unused in the living room. I decided it was time to try it out - see if I could get it to work at all, see if I liked spinning on it if I could, evaluate how much work it might need if I could get it to work. Because if I hated it, or it was hopeless, I'd try to find it a new home with someone who would love it or could fix it. If I loved it, then I should work on actually getting it into shape.

New Spinning Wheel

It turns out that I love it.

This evening, I fixed up a drive band for it, oiled it up and actually spun a little. It definitely needs some work - the bar that holds the wheel on is warped, so the whole thing is a little wobbly. Wiley thinks he can fix that. Even wobbly, though, it spins really nicely.

I spun up a little of the wool that I dyed at Yarn school, and the finished product is not great, but when the wheel and I hit our groove, I was very pleased with what I was getting out of it.

New Spinning Wheel

I think I need to have Wiley try and straighten out the bar for holding the wheel, because I think the wobble that it is introducing is stressing some of the other wood parts. If he can fix that, then I think that it may be just fine without any further intervention - and I need to go buy some spare parts before they all get sold, and maybe think about trying to refinish her this summer. Maybe.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Last night

I was one of the crazy crazy people who stood in line outside for nearly 4 hours to get to see Obama speak in Boston. It was cold, and we were there for a long long time. Amazingly, everyone in line was happy and excited to be there, and even as we smooshed together like cattle trying to get in the doors, no one was pushing or being obnoxious or awful.

There were Ron Paul supporters out trying to sell us their guy. There were LaRouche crazies out there passing out propaganda and trying to sell us their brand of crazy. I, like my friend S, was out there because I was still undecided, and I wanted to see the man in person, since I had the chance. Other friend C was pretty well decided already, but she's crazy for politics, so wanted to see him speak in person too.

I can tell you, even though we ended up so far back in the crowd that we couldn't actually see him, except for occasional fleeting glimpses when the crowd shifted *just right*, that it was absolutely worth it.

I left (and we left a little before the end since it was nearly midnight, and C had to get home to relieve her mom who was babysitting) very fired up and inspired.

I don't know if he can actually get elected - but I don't know that about Hillary either. I know that we could sure stand to have someone in the race who has experience working from the bottom up instead of the top down. I know that Obama was electrifying to listen to last night. I know that his lack of experience may be a negative to many, but, in the very best Mr. Smith goes to Washington kind of way, I love it. I love that enthusiasm, that belief that things can be fixed, that hearing him speak made me feel hopeful for the first time in a long time, even if that hope is still straining to breathe through my crusty cynical shell.

There's good reasons to vote for both candidates today and I've thought long and hard about this one. I know who I'm voting for. I just hope that you go out and vote (if today's your day), no matter who you vote for.

I'm just so happy to be excited again. I'm buoyed by the knowledge that no matter what happens, no matter who wins (except Mitt, because UGH, and hopefully today douses that particular dream) we're going to be in such a better place this time next year.

Unless, of course, Dolores wins. As good as tax deductible wool might be, we've already had 8 years of frat boy rule. We don't need 8 more of party girl. Right?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

B is for...

B is for Books

Books and reading have been my constant companion since I was probably 4 years old. I cannot imagine life without books to entertain me, comfort me, make me feel like I can go anywhere I want to. I know it sounds cliched, but there it is. Love them, sometimes to distraction, and totally do not understand people who "don't read books".

The only thing better than being a reader myself, is watching my daughter get pulled into the same wonderful relationship. She, too, is a reader. Never without a book or twelve, and watching her sit and read, entirely enthralled with the story, gives me the warm fuzzies all over.

This is pretty much what she always looks like in the car these days.