Thursday, May 31, 2012

Is it really Thursday???

I've been a little crazy lately. I've been trying my best to declutter & throw a few things out. Nice to say but almost impossible to do. I've got at least 6 big Rubbermaid bins
in closets or acting as a bedside table that haven't been open in years & I really should send them as is to some Thrift Store somewhere & just get an empty bin back but it would make me crazy to think I've given away a treasure. I'm sure I don't own any treasures but what if one was hidden in there?? Stupid but paralyzing thoughts!! I suspect they're all filled with sewing fabrics, books & stuff like that that I might need someday . . . sometimes it's just better to have a fire. But some things have made it out the door. I suspect more would go quickly if someone dropped a bin in the driveway . . .

Last Christmas I knit a bunch of touques & socks for Loving Spoonful to tuck into hampers. This year I decided I needed a new project for the hampers but I didn't know just what. While browsing for thongs, I found a BOOK - it's a soft cover BOOKLET actually - with a selection of slipper patterns. The pair on the cover made me buy the book!! I want a pair of those for my own feet!! There's a couple of chunky pairs of slippers as well as a pair of Red Sports car slippers for a young fella. I know a couple who'd love them. There's Ballet & MaryJane slippers & even a pair of bog booties too. Nice thing about slippers is that you can combine several yarns or use up crappy old White Buffalo to make 'em. A couple of pairs are even stuffed with folded foam rubber to give a nice 'cushy' sole but I think I'll just buy a dozen or so pairs of felt insoles from the Dollar Store to make nice, thick soles for mine.

And all those squares?? Well, the girls & I are planning a little surprise. We c
ollectively knitted those squares to donate to a project that seems to have died a quiet death in BC. I hauled them all to a Wednesday night session at the Pool Hall & we discussed what to do & which to use. Gail suggested more darker squares & then crochet around each one in black to make them pop. I hope someone else will put them together. I hate sewing things together!!! But it sure would be nice to get rid of that bin of squares since I have more yarn that could use that bin.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Soup on Sunday

I had great plans for today. The sun was up early, it was cool but not raining & I thought about going to Rotten Ronny's for a coffee, an Egg Mcmuffin & a free Sunday paper. I did get as far as the shower etc but never got out the door. I spotted that smoked salmon in the fridge - yeah it was raining when I bought it - and I decided to make fish soup instead.

I have this great Healthtec pot with a close fitting lid from the 60s. Apparently it came with two or three pots of different sizes, this big pot or Dutch Oven & a three inch deep pan. The only part of the set I've ever seen has been the pan, the Dutch Oven & the lid. But I think Healthtec was the original "waterless" cooking system & was extremely expensive when it came out. Let me tell you, this pot can be warmed up, turned on the lowest setting on the stove & left for days. I've even greased it & shoved it into the hot coals of a campfire & left it to cook dinner all day - which is why the green color on one side is a little blackened. It's my all purpose pot.

So, this morning, I made fish soup. I started with a litre of chicken broth, broke up the smoked salmon & tossed in the skin too. A little fresh ground pepper & a touch of granulated garlic. And I put on the lid, turned it on high until the element turned cherry red & then turned it down to a smidge above OFF so that it was as low & I could turn it & still be on. A couple of hours later I had fragrant orange broth that I filled with chopped red & yellow spuds & a little dried onion. Eventually I took out the skin & added some cut up frozen Basa - any white fish will do. Just before dinner I added a little fresh dill, a teaspoon of margerine, some milk,
a handful of cooked prawns & a cup of instant mashed potatoes to thicken it a bit. And ate a big bowl. Wonderful stuff.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just a Little Experiment

I follow a blog called Food In Jars. I love the recipes for small amounts of jam, pickles, relish, condiments etc which make it perfect for one or two people. I tried one of her Marmalade recipes which was very good & a couple of days ago, I read about Chive Vinegar. I like green salads & have resolved to make my own dressings since I own a blender, Magic Bullet & VitaMix!

I've been experimenting with different vinegars, oils & condiments whipped up in the Magic Bullet. It's nice to have a very small machine that can make small amounts without all the cleanup - yeah, you can put everythi
ng in a jar & shake - but the Bullet can emulsify everything so much faster & smoother. I've discovered several different kinds of olive oil - I like the Fruity one very much but I especially love the Peppery oil! I've invested in different kinds of vinegar as well so the Chive Vinegar caught my eye. All you do is fill a jar a third to half with chive flowers & cover with a white vinegar. After a few hours, the vinegar turns pink. Mine has been in the jar for two days now & is just about ready to filter.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

. Haven't had any time at all to knit - other than the Birthday Socks for the boys at work!! Had a few moments here & there, I must admit, but the old hands have just been too damned sore to do much of anything other than beat on the keyboard. And I'm still beating on the keyboard, albeit a little more slowly - seems I'm now gainfully EMPLOYED rather than flitting around as a Contractor for most of the year.

I've accepted my fate & will continue to be employed since I continue to be the only one who can run all the software & fill in the cracks. Not what I intended but, I can finish paying off the loan & pad my Canada Pension for a change. I will be one of the ones who HAS to work to 70 unless a rich relative dies & names me heir to the fortune! Hehehehehehe The Ex also continues on, hail & hearty too.

One thing about being employed, you get to leave after 9 hours & go home without being called for more work. I might get to like this. And, of course, I have time to knit, spin & dye.

I started out with good old KROY & my favorite 2.5mm bamboo skewer needles. I think I originally MADE these bamboo needles because of Kroy. I couldn't find a 2.5mm set of needles anywhere! My 2.25s were too small - the knitting was too tight - & a 2.75mm was way too big. I didn't want a set of sock needles that wouldn't get used again - I'm also cheap & broke much of the year so that had to be considered. And I LIKE bamboo too. So, I made my own with sandpaper, beeswax & elbow grease. I've used them so much that they have their own patina & are smooth as glass. The Kroy slips along just fine as did the lovely splotchy Confetti yarn I used to knit men's socks. That splotchy Confetti felt thicker & definitely knitted up thicker so my 2.5s were perfect! Wish I could find more of it . . . But, I'll settle for the crazy orange Kroy for now! I must find more in other colors before winter.

As usual, I've used the heel shaping from Crazy Heels & Toes. I love this heel shaping. I love that I can
knit that gusset at dusk with no lights on. I can even knit it on the porch, at night, with the security light on & no other illumination. I no longer have heels falling apart in the wash because I couldn't see to pick up a stitch. When you knit cuff down, a heel falling apart means you re-knit the whole damn sock. Or throw it out in frustration because you gave away the leftover yarn that you now need to redo the sock because it's a color that you can't match or coordinate.

I usually pause at this point to swap socks. At this point, the sock has to come in, out of the car, because it has to be turned under my DAYLIGHT lamp. It's also too fiddly to work when you're out with all the rubber band markers needed to show the short row shaping. I cast on the other one & move it out to the car for "WAITING" knitting while the heel is turned indoors. This pair with the longer legs will be for ME. Not going into the Donation basket but straight into my Sock Basket instead!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Suddenly Summer

The weather changed while I've been hammering on the keyboard across town - man, this working for a living is the pitts!! - and yesterday, it became summer. I'm working 4 days a week in a tin box with what they call 'air conditioning'. I'd like to call it that too but it only cools you down when you stand in front of the machine in the classroom portion & not at all in my office end of the box. Yesterday, the classroom air wouldn't stay on & my fan at the end of the box stopped. Just around noon. By 3:00PM, it was over 30 in the office & not improving at all. We tinkered with the machinery to no avail till the Boss's Reno buddy walked in the door . . . . he twitched something & turned two dials & cold air started blasting out of the classroom. Holy Crap. Since the remote was misplaced, no one but Bryan - who's gone to Bus Driving School - knows what MODE the machine is in since the display is on the remote. We were not in Summer mode, that's for sure. The classroom is cool again but sadly, my little blower has died. Hopefully, it will be replaced today. When I deliver it. I drove home yesterday with the air conditioning in the van turned up to max! It was only the second time in the year & a half I've owned it that I even turned it on.

My basement is nice & cool in the hot weather! Good thing because I freeze in the winter. You can always put on more clothes when it's cold but once you're down to skin in a hot place, you can't take anything else off! So it's a great place to be in the summer & an even nice place to lounge outside in the evening. Last night I found three balls of that orange Kroy that we got so cheaply at Michaels & started a nice thick pair of winter socks, hehe. I love Kroy. It's thick, it knits very quickly & you don't even
have to watch as the stitches go by. Other than the heel & toe shaping, they almost knit themselves. I just put on my mini IPod, tuned in "The Ten Year Anniversary", a Women's Murder Club book, poured a huge icy Mango juice & went outside to knit after dinner. Bliss.

I've made a promise to myself. Since I have three days a week that I don't have to get up & commute to work until I feel like it, I will get up & commute to my patio with my morning tea & spin. Should be a nice shock to all those people who like to take the short cut through my yard instead of walking around the block on the "public" street.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Rumor has it . . .

The Aliens have not swooped down & taken me away as someone reported although some days, I wish they would. It's been a tough Tax Season this year & I've been trying to work TWO jobs at the same time since my little buddy Bryan ran off to join the Bus Driver's union. Apparently he's had it tough too since he's in the Fast Track group & doing the course in half the time!! We've barely texted to see how the other is doing - guess we're both coping though since that's the kind of people we are! But, I'm still working a 32 hour week at the school, finishing up all the late returns, trying to do 5 year ends, working at least one day in the office with the dogs, catching up in the warehouse job on Sundays & trying to finish 11 corporate tax returns. All at the same time. H E L P! Aren't these supposed to be the Golden Years where you s l o o o w down??

I have to report that I have nothing
fibery to report. No socks. No vest. No nothing. I've looked at it all but I'm just too damned tired to work on anything. The Boss Birthday socks still need their toes completed but I still have a week . . . Maybe next week I'll pick up the needles again. Maybe after I sleep for a whole week. Gawd, I have to get out there & plant my baskets & tubs too. I'm just too damned old for this much work.