Friday, December 29, 2006

Give Me a Break (and a Broom!)

Have you read news articles such as this one about a recent study showing that doing housework decreases the risk of breast cancer?

Give me a fucking break!

Okay, so the point of the study is that regular moderate exercise is better than more strenous, less frequent exercise. Point taken. But, the headlines scream HOUSEWORK! Not, MODERATE EXERCISE.

So...great! In our dimwitted cultural imagination, this will become simply another reason to blame a woman for her cancer! You know, if you hadn't let those dishes pile up and your floor go unswept, maybe we wouldn't have to chop off your breasts and shoot you full of poison. This'll teach you to take better care of your house and husband and children.

I like a tidy house, so maybe I'll avoid the breast cancer plague. But what about women who work 3 jobs and don't have time to clean their houses (or apartments or the place that they found to sleep for the night) or participate in other regular moderate exercise?

Also, is it really all about the exercise, or might it be the clean living space that helps avoid cancer? Just what the hell is in our dust? Pollutants, maybe? Maybe we could talk about more stringent environmental regulations? No way, because then the blame could not be pinned to individual women.

To certain news writers, I say, take this broom and shove it.

[Also, don't get me started on how women will now be encouraged to clean house instead of participate in sports or other regular non-cleaning exercise.]

A Few Last Slugs

2006 is still trying to pack in more horribleness.

Recently, I learned that one of my school's fixtures, a woman in her 90s who graduated from here back in the day and continued coming to the school on a near-daily basis to hang out, passed away this week. Surprising to me, as she was still stopping by for coffee every afternoon last week.

Also, I learned that my sister's fiance is back in a hospital. Apparently, his other recent stay was not self-motivated as I was led to believe, but came about after he was found wondering Atlanta breaking windows (actually, just one window...with a stick). During our visit to my parents', it was quite obvious that he is still delusional. I hope a breakthrough of some sort happens this time. I also hope my sister seeks counseling or a support group, because she is shouldering a huge responsibility. This makes my soul hurt.

2006, kiss my ass. Hate you.

Porkchop and I intend on going to Rooster for breakfast tomorrow morning. Yay! Crêpes!

I wonder if I should tell them that "dessert" is misspelled on their website. How embarrassing. Although....maybe I just don't know what "desert crêpes" are.

Marbles is having 24 hours of yoga on New Year's Eve and Day. I might want to go, but they haven't posted the class schedule yet. I don't like surprises...I'd like to map out my schedule well beforehand.

The Yarn Sale
I haven't been to the Knitorious yarn sale, and I probably won't go, because I can't get there before the store closes in the evening. How sad! But, also maybe a good thing.

On second thought, it's just sad. Before, I thought we might go to Madison this weekend, so I was saving for a trip to the BEST YARN STORE EVER, Lakeside Fibers. I still have two Lakeside punchcards...I swear I will earn another $20 off at some point. no Madison, no yarn trip. Murrrr.

Ah well, Lakeside is probably closed this weekend anyway. As I recall, they close at the drop of a hat.

Someday, my pretty precious Lakeside, someday.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Something that Makes Me Happy

Regina Spektor's albums stream for free from her website. I especially enjoy playing and replaying Fidelity and On the Radio off of Begin to Hope.


Hyperbolic Crochet

This looks and sounds intriguing, eh?

I like to imagine mathematicians busily crocheting away. Also, I love that there's an organization called The Institute For Figuring. Because, when I was younger, my grandpa was always figuring things. But in a different sense. "Well, the way I figured it, that cow was going to be stuck in that fence."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I've been feeling like an afterthought idea that one might entertain for a moment and then dismiss with a wave of the hand.

Porkchop tried cheering me up by serenading me with her new iKaraoke (which actually kind of works!), but I still feel glum.


Present Weekend
Porkchop and I went to see my family in northeast Arkansas for an exhausting weekend. My sister and parents were all keyed up and played off each other's respective quirks and foibles. There was nary a moment of silence.

This is how I spent most of my time:


Trying to finish that darned cabled scarf! Thankfully, it is done and given. Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of it. Perhaps the owner could take a shot of the cabling and send it to me?

I took a breath from knitting to open some of these:

present explosion

These are two of my favorite gifts received (even if they are from Anthropologie):

little guys

I gave these to my mom and sister:

bags outside

Here are the insides, courtesy of Porkchop and her sewing skills:

bags inside

Here are my sister and dad demonstrating an alternate use of the bags (a use that I do not condone):


My Favorite
My favorite present is a knitting needle case that Porkchop made out of scraps! So pretty! And nearly finished!

The Next Holiday
I hope the next weekend speeds by quickly. I haven't had good luck with past New Year's Eves, making it my least favorite holiday EVER.

The only good thing is time off of work. Oh yeah, and we get to kick 2006's ass out the door.

2006 was the suckiest year for so many of my family, friends, and acquaintances. Yeah! Get the hell of here, 2006! Scram!

With our hastily made plans canceled for this year's holiday, I think I'll barricade myself in our apartment, teach myself some crochet, and get to bed early. Of course, if I plan this, our apartment will probably catch fire or all of my crochet hooks will mysteriously disappear.

Glum glum glum.

Friday, December 22, 2006

No Red Ink Left

It's the afternoon before the holiday weekend, and I'm stuck reviewing a 75-page area statement. I'm only halfway through it, but I really want to stab my eye with a pen or another sharp object.

Although I'm going out of my mind, I've been convinced that I'm an A-1 writer. Thank you, Ph.D. student-who-shall-remain-nameless!

Sweet Jesus, someone teach this student how to write a well-constructed sentence. From there, we can move to paragraphs. Although chapters are a long way off, we'll get there some day. Some day.

Ah well, have a nice weekend!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More with the Shibori

Remember how I wrote about shibori a couple of times maybe two months ago? The main thing that kept me from starting a shibori scarf was the amount of time it would take to knit a long, fine-gauge scarf. Well, I just checked out the non-pattern content of Knitty and saw this article about using old sweaters for a shibori scarf.

What a wonderful idea! And, why didn't I think about that?!

I'm not too keen on the "winter garden" scarf featured in the article, but some sort of felted embellishment would be nice. Oh! What if it was needle felted?! That would cover two recent fancies at once!


I'm at work, but I have absolutely no motivation to format working papers or do planning for an upcoming conference. Why? Because no one else is in the office! Well, my student worker is, but she doesn't count.

So...I'm posting two recipes. One is for a biscotti that is our very favorite. It's rare that Porkchop and I adore the same baked item (Porkchop isn't a huge chocolate fan while I am a dark chocolate fool), but we both love this biscotti. I recently realized that I've been making this biscotti for 7 years now! Crazy! The other recipe is for a shortbread that is a new favorite.

Before recipe posting, has anyone out there tried needle felting? I think it looks intriguing....maybe after I learn the ins and outs of crocheting.


1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp finely grated orange peel
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
2 cups flour
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate miniships
2/3 cup shelled lightly salted pistachio nuts

Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet.

In a large bowl with mixer on high speed, beat butter, 1 cup sugar, the peel, and baking powder until well blended. Beat in 3 eggs. On low speed, beat in flour just until blended. Stir in chips and nuts.

Turn dough out on a well-floured surface. Divide dough into quarters. Roll each portion into a 9-inch long rectangular log (use your own judgment about width and height - I think I usually do a few inches across and an inch or so high, but I never measure those).

Place logs 3 inches apart (logs will spread) on prepared baking sheet. Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with a fork. Brush egg on logs, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack 5 minutes. Loosen with a spatula and remove to a cutting board. Wipe off cookie sheet.

With a long, sharp knife, cut each log diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange slices upright on cookie sheet.

Bake 15-17 minutes longer until crisp. Remove to wire rack to cool (cookies will become even more crisp). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks (but they won't last that long, believe me!).

CREDIT: From an old Woman's Day cookie insert. It's a long I came to possess said cookie insert.



1 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
grated zest of 1 orange (or about 2 tsp)
3/4 cup sliced almonds

In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, almond extract, and salt until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add flour and orange zest; mix just until a dough forms. With a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or your hands, gently mix in almonds.

On a piece of wax paper, form dough into a rectangular log, 12 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Wrap log in the paper and freeze until firm (at least 1 hour and up to 3 months). If freezing longer than 1 day, wrap log again in plastic wrap.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Remove dough from freezer (if dough has been in freezer for a long time and is frozen solid, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to avoid crumbling).

With a sharp knife, cut dough into 1/4-inch slices; place on ungreased baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake until edges just begin to turn golden, 20-25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet; transfer cookies to rack to cool.

CREDIT: From an Everyday Food issue. Yay for Martha Stewart and her empire!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Time for a Meme (and Other Things)

Yay! I was recently tagged for the very first time!

To celebrate, I am taking time out of my work to recount 6 Weird Things about myself.

Here are THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.' People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged' in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

My Things
  1. Some people already know this, some don't. My right eye squeaks whenever I have the slightest sinus issue. This isn't a little squeak, either. It's LOUD. If the sinus issue is big enough, my eye squeaks on its own, no help from me necessary. GROSS!

  2. I once took apart a desiccated corpse for a summer forensic anthropology project. Not only was it old and dried up, the police found it in a Shriner's Halloween fun house! The poor guy was painted glow-in-the-dark green and had electric eyes in his orbits.

  3. Thanks to the project mentioned previously, I have done the following: ripped a guy's throat out (quite literally), held a guy's dried up organs in my hands, and leaked embalming fluid onto my clothes (it seemed it pooled in the joints - and, no, I don't think it was synovial fluid). I also have the smell of old, dried up flesh being melted by friction from a stryker saw permanently burned into my sensory bank. Yum!

  4. I can get a lot of mileage out of that summer project. I also helped bury the guy's bones on one of my university's test farms. The idea was that a future forensics class would dig up the bones, treating it like a crime scene, and conduct analyses. Given that my professor and everyone else with any knowledge of the burial has since left the univerity, I don't think this will happen. I think it will be found during expansion on the farm, and some poor person will be stuck trying to figure out why a dismembered body is buried on the farm, along with some discharged bullets, a few cigarettes, and a "suspicious" powdered substance. P.S. We decided on this burial, rather than deal with the various guidelines for disposing of human skeletal remains.

  5. I am compulsive about some things. If an object isn't positioned quite exactly how I think it should be, I have to move it. I have to start climbing stairs with my right foot first. Same for stepping across cracks in the sidewalk. These are tendencies that I fight daily. I also have a difficult time not mentally typing everything I say or think. Somewhat related, I sometimes forget to breathe when I knit. Also when I type. I'm lucky I'm still alive.

  6. You might not guess it by talking to me, but part of my family is, well, questionable. Growing up, I thought it was quite normal to have con artists for uncles and a grandfather who burned down his family's house for insurance money....twice.

Now you know!

I am tagging Porkchop and s00zi. Also ken, who could change the topic to "6 Weird Things that Annoy Me." And Kathy, who could modify it to "6 Things that Chileans find Weird About Me." I can't make the six people count, but if you, dear reader, want to participate, feel free to list weird things in the comments section.

Look, here's my hat:

pretty hat!

That photo was taken Monday night. I came home totally exhausted and gross feeling, so I took a long, hot shower and rushed into my pajamas. Nice!

I can't wait for some down-time! It has been sweatshop-like at our house (except we can take all the bathroom breaks we want). I knitknitknit while Porkchop sewsewsews. Then we cook and wrapwrapwrap presents and try to pack in time with everyone. It's fun! And, exhausting!

Unfortunately, I'm starting to lose feeling in my left hand from knitting! It's been tingling all day today, which is just a bit scary mainly because I HAVE A SCARF TO FINISH! I don't have time to lose this hand! On a related note, I woke up at 6:00 am Sunday morning on Target's sidewalk and COULD NOT MOVE MY LEFT HAND AT ALL. That, my friends, was super-freaky. I think I had been sleeping on it, but it took quite some time for me to regain movement.

Speaking of Sunday morning, staying all night on the Target sidwalk wasn't so bad at all. Our neighbors were quite amusing, and everyone in the core 15 was quite pleasant. Porkchop and I even managed to sleep 2-3 hours. We were nice and toasty in our sleeping bags while others were shivering under little blankets.

Back to pictures.

Here's a nice shot of the pretzel rods that we made Monday night. Okay, we didn't make the pretzels...we just dipped them in chocolate and added various toppings. This year, we used toffee bits, coconut, pistachios, and peanuts. Easy! and pretty!


So far, this is one of the best shots of our tree. It's so hard to capture!


And, finally, here's the 2005 Sonic snowglobe. Tacky, eh?


Tonight we're going to the Bach Society's Christmas candlelight concert. I am so excited! I haven't been to a Christmas concert since high school. When I was a kid, we always went to so many....between school band concerts and the piano parties that my teacher held and the random concerts in town. Anyway, I've really missed a good ol' Christmas concert, so I persauded Porkchop to go to one with me.


Have a great Wednesday!

P.S. We exchanged presents with Suzi and her mom last night. Among other things, I received the Happy Hooker. I can't wait to start hooking!

Monday, December 18, 2006

With the Sidewalk for a Pillow

Hi! Sorry for more broken promises of pictures!

The weekend was both long and short. It held super-packed busy-ness and hours to just sit and do nothing but watch the minutes tick by.

Saturday was busybusybusy. Sunday was an abbreviated day.

Starting Saturday night at 10:30, Porkchop and I were in line at a Target to (hopefully) purchase a Nintendo Wii for her younger brother (who is giving it to his girlfriend's kids). Yay! We were two of the lucky fifteen who received vouchers at 7:00 Sunday morning!

The other Wii is on eBay. Some say eBay scalpers are greedy, while others say that they (we?) are doing a good deed by making Wiis more widely available. I'm just hoping I get enough extra money to buy a plane ticket for our vacation in April.

More on our adventure later! Promise to keep this promise!

Wii Update
Our extra console went for about $125 more than what we paid for it. Not a plane ticket, but it could be a nice dinner at Niche. I hear they have a 7-course tasting menu now.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Post #101

Just realized my previous post was my 100th. What a miserable subject for a milestone post!

This post will be more cheerful! Yet rushed! And without pictures!

It sucks to never be home during natural-light hours during the week. I promise pictures this of snowglobes and stockings and a cabled hat!

My new cabled hat (made with this pattern) is so pretty! I love it so freakin' much! As I was telling CJ last night, I like to just sit and look at it and touch it. Then, I put it on and admire it in a mirror. Yes, I might be a bit obsessive.

Currently, I'm working on a cabled scarf that will be a present for someone. It's also pretty....that's all I can say. I also have felted bags to line; Porkchop will be assisting with sewing.

Short on are highlights of the past week:
  • Ate at Il Vicino last Friday. Yum! Great pizza and calzones!

  • Went to a kid's 6th birthday on Saturday. Sounds not fun, perhaps, eh? But, it was! The theme was "Safety Heroes," and the parents arranged for the fire department to come out and give the kids a tour of a fire truck and safety tips.

  • Went to Suzi's for knitting night. Her cat continues to amaze/horrify us by doing things like playing with candles and burning both front paws. Seriously, the cat is not the least bit intimidated by fire. Courageous or not-so-smart?

  • We made orange-chocolate-pistachio biscotti and orange-almond shortbread this week. Recipes to follow later!

  • We bathed Keetah last night. Actually, Porkchop did most of the work while I handed her things. It's always disgusting to see the amount of dirt that comes off of Keetah.

Hmmmm....I thought there were more highlights. What a paltry list.

My work is busy! Must go!

Look for photos this weekend! Promise!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Is Wednesday the 13th the New Friday the 13th?

I have had such a bad morning, and it's not yet 9:00. And, actually, everything happened before it was even 8:00.

On my way to the bus stop, I stepped in dog poop...the only poop on our sidewalk, and I had to step in it. So, I had to rush home, change shoes, and hurry back to the bus stop. I was fairly certain that I had missed any bus that would get me to the metro stop before 8:11, but I decided to try anyway.

Wrong decision.

A drunk guy at the bus stop sang a rap song to me, to which I smiled and nodded politely. Then he said, with a drunken slur, "What? Did you forget to shave this morning? You have more whiskers than me."

My peach fuzz is the one thing I'm sensitive about. I've got blond hair and super fair skin that burns to a crisp...I need a bit of fuzz covering to protect me from skin cancer! After years of teasing in elementary school, I came to accept my fuzzy lot in life. (And, no, hair removal beyond waxing my eyebrows is so not for me.)

But this drunk asshole had to bring it all back up. Thanks!

So, I replied to the guy, "That's not a very polite thing to say to someone." This caused him to trespass into my personal space and yell at me! The alcohol fumes nearly had me drunk!

I was like, what are you doing? Go away.

He sat down on the bench but continued to pester me. My favorite was when he asked for a dollar or 50 cents, to which I asked, "After you've been mean to me? What do you think?" It was so grade school.

After I saw him pull out his huge jug of alcohol and take a few swigs, I decided I had had enough for the morning and walked home to get my car.

Of course, on the walk home, I started crying because I can only take so much before 8:00. I had also had a horrible dream this morning that caused me to wake up crying and put me into an already-fragile state.

If I could take my sick days, I so would have called in this morning. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting out my 6-month probation period (grumble!).

Yesterday, I had so much love for the bus. A guy gave me his seat on my evening commute, and I talked about knitting with another rider. This morning...I hate the bus! And drunk mean people!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


My path between the Skinker train station and my building takes me across a grassy area. The walk is usually uneventful, but today, it has caused my moral compass to spin.

While traversing the grassy area, I spied an object that the non-knitter might identify as a tampon or suppository case. The initiated, however, can identify it as a Clover Chibi case for tapestry needles. My thought was not, "Score!," but "Oh! The poor knitter who lost this!" and "Poor little muddy Chibi!" I scooped it up and nestled it in my hands.

Once in my building, I washed off the mud and checked its contents. Yep, 3 needles in various sizes.

What do I do?

I don't feel right keeping it, but how on earth will I find its owner? Should I throw it back in the grassy area and hope that the owner goes looking for it? I don't want a non-knitter to pick it up and then discard it once he or she finds that it is not a drug case.

Or, is this a sign of some sort? Like, I am following the right path as a knitter?

Poor little's an older one, like this:

old chibi

So, dear readers, what should I do?

Longer post later, in which I will fill you in on our encounter with a fire truck, my new beautiful cabled hat, and my sore hands and wrists. Also, recipes!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Sockless

Hi y'all!

So....I wasn't feeling the sock love, which made me rip out my one inch of ribbing and switch to a hat. I don't know why I can't jump on the sock wagon. Perhaps it's because I'm very particular about my socks. If it's not Smartwool, I usually don't want anything to do with it. I know....wool is wool, right? Wrong!

I could not go gently into sock knitting knowing that I would never let the socks touch my feet.

At least I'm getting a cool hat out of it: the first Winter Femme Hat in this pattern set. I think the second one looks super-fun as well. (P.S. The same person designed the pattern that I'm using for a cabled scarf. I guess I really like her designs!)

What else....

I had a haircut Tuesday night. After my stylist left Verve (and apparently was not allowed to contact her clients!), I had a disappointing cut with another stylist. Since I prefer to not suffer from haircuts in which the only texturizing is provided with blocking scissors, I decided to try Salon St. Louis. I'm quite pleased with my decision. My stylist spent nearly 10 minutes discussing what I wanted and what I definitely don't like (e.g., blocking scissors!). The shampoo/conditioning session included a scalp massage with warm oils, a hot towel on the neck during conditioning, and a free hand paraffin treatment (I love hot wax!). The cut itself took nearly 40 minutes, as the stylist did a careful point cut job. Yay! No blocking scissors!

At my last appointment at Verve, the stylist didn't really pay attention to me or my hair, acted bored, and sped through the cut. No point cutting, just blocking scissors at the end. Blech! Not happy!

My stylist at Salon St. Louis was such a deal at only $31. I am happy. And, no, the salon did not pay me to write this. Oh, one more thing. Salon St. Louis gives you free touch-ups in between scheduled haircuts. So, in 3 weeks, I'll go to the salon and my stylist will clean up my neck and whatnot for free. The salon I went to in Iowa City also provided this service, but I've never heard of it elsewhere.

The only painful part of the haircut was listening to a customer explaining to another stylist what blogs are. Painful.

Last night, Porkchop and I made a super-yummy dinner: chicken with a creamy dill sauce and buttermilk mashed potatoes. Yum! Tonight, we have navrattan korma scheduled. Double-yum!

Have a great Thursday!

Also, if you are in St. Louis, be sure to go to the Independent Art Market this weekend!

Just One More Thing
Maybe St. Louis actually deserves its Most Dangerous City title if people are killed over warm Stag beer. Of course, maybe it wasn't the warmth...maybe it was the Stag part (yuck!). Or maybe it was the lack of electricity. And, yes! Many people still do not have power!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Sometimes, one can feel so sad upon hearing news about someone who one does not even know.

I had been keeping up on the Kim family (website being hit hard and not always available) after reading about their disappearance on the A Bird in the Hand blog. When the mother and children were found, there was so much hope that the father also survived. Alas, the father's body was recently found.

How horrible that a wrong turn can lead to such devestation!

This definitely makes me reconsider taking little roads that barely warrant a faint line on maps.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Channeling My Mother

Porkchop wanted me to title this post "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," but I think that's too obvious (sorry, P-chop!).

As Suzi and I were browsing greenery last night, I told her about how I keep seeing these tall, often wire, conical tree-shaped decorations everywhere and how I secretly want some (not so secretly now). Tree-shaped decorations, greenery, an urge to buy a poinsettia...I am channeling my mother.

My mom usually isn't one of those knick-knacky people with tons of useless crap cluttering every available space in the house. I grew up with minimalism, which I really appreciate. But come Christmas, my mom, in her advanced years, has taken to bringing out the crap. Okay, so maybe I was used to having 2-3 Christmas trees in our house growing up (one of which was a plastic cactus....don't ask), but she has taken recent holiday decorating to new heights.

When we go to their house in December now, there are at least 2 dozen Santa Clauses displayed on their stairs, the fireplace mantel, windowsills...anywhere you can put a Santa Claus, there is one.

It's crazy.

This year, in honor of the Western-themed Christmas tree (not to be confused with the vacation-souvenir-decorated aluminum tree), my mom brought out their John Wayne stand-up cut-out. Holding a rifle and wearing a bandanna, John Wayne protects the precious "turquoise"-garlanded tree under the eyes of the cowboy Santa Clauses perched in the windowsill. It is a sight to behold.

But back to our apartment.

In my opinion, the mantel in our living room is quite tastefully done with evergreen cuttings, pinecones, and a pretty little pre-made centerpiece with different types of cuttings and little blue berry things.

Our tree, on the other hand, looks like a bad acid trip (or what I imagine a bad acid trip would be). Don't get my wrong, I love it! It's delightfully gaudy with crazy shiny electric-colored decorations. It's a nice break from our usually sedate rainbow-lit tree with simple red, silver, and white ball ornaments. With our current tree, my eyes can't focus, it's a blur of glitter and bright Mardi Gras colors. I will post pictures later.

Also in a break with tradition, we decided to bring all of our snow globes out from storage and set them on top of the entertainment unit (which is also adorned with greenery). Porkchop and I used to enjoy buying and asking friends to buy snowglobes from different cities (the saddest: NYC with the World Trade Center), so we have quite a few. Additionally, my mom sends us a Sonic snow globe each year, which always registers high on the tacky meter.

So, all in all, our living room looks a bit tackalicious. And, it's great!

On Another Subject
Earlier, I was reading an article on the Post-Dispatch website. When asked about the current outages, one of the Ameren VPs said, "blah blah blah...Ice storms are crazy." What?! That sounds like something I would say! If my power has been out for 4 days (as it was this summer), I want to hear serious, official, jargon-loaded explanations, not "Ice storms are crazy." No shit!

Monday, December 04, 2006


It looks like we were going to have Ted Drewes frozen custard as a dessert at our staff retreat on Friday....because the faculty services office was just giving away a big cooler load of it.

I am now enjoying a heath bar concrete.


The Long Weekend

Last week, my school had a staff retreat scheduled for all day on Friday. On Thursday, with inclement weather in sight, we received an email that effectively stated: "The retreat will take place even if the weather conditions suck. We don't care if you don't have power or need to take care of your kids who are at home because every single freakin' school canceled. It is obviously more important to talk about strategies and innovations. We will only cancel if the university cancels classes."

So, Friday morning, here I am at 7:45, leaving for the bus stop:

Off to work

Luckily, Porkchop called me before I reached the bus stop and told me that the trains weren't running! WTF?! Being the trooper that I am, I drove to the retreat, arriving 10 minutes early.

Of course, I was the only one there. The school librarian arrived shortly thereafter; after placing a couple of phone calls, she learned that our school had canceled all events for the day, including the staff retreat. Not only was that canceled, our office was closed! Yay! Here, let me clarify that the university did not cancel classes - our school made an autonomous decision to cancel events and non-essential offices. This, of course, caused confusion to me, the school librarian, and the other staff who were arriving as I was leaving.

Although a bit pissed off about driving out to the retreat for nothing, I was also happy. A snow day! How novel! It was my first since junior high school. Unfortunately, I wasted a good portion of it with a 2-hour nap.

Before falling into the sleep that would not end, I threw bird seed out onto our back deck. Before the finches and some other unidentified birds flew in, this big guy hung out for a while:


Also, before Porkchop left for work (yes, she actually went in for her afternoon stint!), she took these pics.

Here's the tree in our front yard:


And here's our street, with Tower Grove park in the background:


The poor park! It has taken quite a beating this year!

Friday night, Porkchop, Suzi, two of her friends, and I dined at Schlafly's Bottleworks. Yum! Smoked gouda potato gratin! Sticky toffee pudding! Also, I *heart* their Coffee Stout! (Here, I would like to note that they use Kaldi's coffee that has been brewed using the cold toddy method. Just to further demonstrate my point that cold brewing is the way to go for cold or iced coffee.) I can't wait for February when they brew their Chocolate Porter.


After stopping by Suzi's house, she and I hit Knitorious. Yay! Yarn! I also picked up a pattern for a felted pot and a felted vase. Awesome.

Next, Suzi treated me and some other ladies to lunch at the Pitted Olive. So much yum! I had the hot chicken and goat cheese sandwich with a side of roasted potato salad. The Pitted Olive is my new favorite. It reminds of Relish in Madison. Except, while I always felt slightly ripped off by Relish's prices, I didn't at all at the Pitted Olive...probably because the sandwiches included a substantial side.

After lunch, we went for pedicures. Yes, I got a pedicure! My feet look nice, but I felt rather internal social critique engine wouldn't stop as the shop was staffed mostly by Vietnamese women (the manager was a man, as was one or two manicurists). I don't even know where to begin.

After getting our feet scrubbed, nails trimmed, and cuticles cut back (ow!), Suzi and I had a sock-knitting lesson from Suzi's neighbor, who is also a teacher at Knitorious. I guess I'm making a pair of socks. So far, I only have an inch of ribbing, but I think I'll continue. I can kind of see how sock knitting can be addictive.

Suzi's neighbor gave me one very invaluable tip about knitting on dpns. Although not always, I am sometimes left with loose ladders where the dpns cross over. The solution: keep the needles you're working with on top! Ah ha! My books never told me this! Previously, when knitting on dpns, I went at it with my working needle coming up from below.

I had to leave the lesson early because Porkchop's niece was coming over to spend the night at our apartment. So, my night was filled with cookie baking and knitting (I knitted while Porkchop and her niece played hockey in the basement and did other activities).

Here we are making chocolate crinkle cookies (my favorite!):


Also busy with an excursion out to Midrivers Mall (I think that's the name) to watch the Blues practice. Porkchop was so happy. Later, I poked around the mall while Porkchop and her niece skated.

After the mall, we went to Hancock Fabrics and Jay International Foods. I stayed at home while Porkchop returned her niece to Illinois. So, I was finally able to finish the hardwarmers I started last weekend. Yay!

Speaking of knitting, I also finally finished my other bag - just have to felt it now and then it's ready for lining (of course, I still have to figure out the sewing part). I also finished the zigzag diagonal drop stitch scarf that I was working on. Here it is:

Zigzag scarf


Porkchop, Suzi, and I are going shopping for live greenery. I can smell it now!

Have a great week!

I can't say how relieved I was/am that our power stayed on the whole time during the ice storm. As for those half million people who lost horrible! Why can't Ameren get their shit together?!